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Election Officials Expect Two Million Virginians To Cast Ballots

In Virginia, election officials are expecting about two million people to participate in today's election.

The applications have been processed. The absentee ballots have been cast, and all the necessary forms have been filed here at the Arlington County registrar's office. Assistant Registrar Maggie Lynch says there's a sense of excitement in the air.

"It's very exciting. Well, every election is exciting. But this one, you know, more so than two years from now," she says.

This year features a knock-down, drag-out political fight between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli, the only competitive race for governor in America this year. Registrar Linda Lindberg says she expects about 50 percent of registered voters to show up today. That's more than the last race for governor, but much less than the 81 percent of registered voters who participated in last year's presidential election.

"That's a little unfortunate because it's the gubernatorial races and the local races and the House of Delegates that really make a difference in our lives on a daily basis," she says.

This year, registrars found themselves in the middle of a court fight. Democrats tried to stop a purge of voters from a database of people who are registered in more than one state, but a federal judge sided with the State Board of Elections and the purges went forward. Here in Arlington, Lindberg says about 2,300 names were on the list.

"Of those, we only found about five percent we didn't remove. So we feel pretty confident in that, and again there's always the option for a voter to vote a provisional ballot," she says.

Voters who participate in gubernatorial elections have slightly different demographics than the electorate in a presidential year. They tend to be older, whiter and more conservative. But recent polling shows that Cuccinelli has only 85 percent support from Republicans while McAuliffe has 93 percent support from Democrats.

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