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Virginia Elections: Fairfax Officials Facing Voter Confusion

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Voters turn out at a Prince William County government center in Woodbridge, Va.
Armando Trull
Voters turn out at a Prince William County government center in Woodbridge, Va.

Polls have opened in Virginia this morning, and election officials in Fairfax County  are prepared for some confusion after the state's voter database assigned some voters to the wrong precincts. 

Mistaken precinct notices were sent to 2,200 voters in Fairfax County, which could lead to some residents showing up at the wrong polling places today. County election officials had to issue new cards to these voters, according to Cameron Quinn, registrar for the Fairfax County Board of Elections.

"We've sent out corrected voter cards, in some cases overnight to make sure voters got the right info," she says. "If we have voters today that are in the wrong precincts, we will make sure they get direct to the right precincts so they can vote the correct ballot."

It's always possible to have voters in the wrong place, but it's more common in a redistricting year such as this one, Quinn adds. "People get confused, and they show up where they've always voted, even if they've gotten a voter registration card telling them to go somewhere different," she says.

Voter turnout in Fairfax is expected to be close to 35 percent, which is higher than most other counties in Northern Virginia. Statewide, voter turnout is expected to be low, ranging from 12 to 35 percent, according to polls. 

Those polls also show that Republican voters are more energized than Democrats, which could give the GOP the momentum it needs to take control of the State Senate. Republicans already control the House of Delegates and the governor's mansion in Virginia, and close races in several key districts are expected to decide the fate of the senate.

Capturing just three seats currently held by Democrats would give Republicans the majority in the senate; even a win of two seats would benefit the GOP by making Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling the tie-breaker in that case.

Update 7:00 p.m.: Polls are now closed in Virginia. We'll have full coverage Wednesday morning when poll numbers come in.

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