Henrico has 211,000 registered voters and local election officials predict a 75 to 80% turnout at the polls on Tuesday.
“We’ve been called the bell weather county of the bell weather state,” says Henrico Registrar Mark Coakley.
While Henrico County ranks just fifth in the state in voting population, the stakes are extremely high for the swing county. Several networks, including CNN, are planning around-the-clock coverage from the county.
Of the 93 voting precincts in Henrico, the largest turnout is expected in the Far West End and East End. The smallest precinct has 400 registered voters, while the largest precinct has close to 4,000.
In Chesterfield, the largest county in Central Virginia with 225,000 registered voters, polling officials expect the highest turnout in Midlothian.
Seven thousand absentee ballots have already being processed in the county and the registrar expects a large turnout at the polls on Tuesday.
“If voters educate themselves, particularly on the constitutional amendments and they know how they want to vote, then I think they can vote quickly,” says Chesterfield Registrar Larry Haake.
Election officials say longer lines can also be avoided if voters come prepared with an acceptable form of identification. A new Virginia law requires that voters present a voter registration card, a driver’s license or a military or student ID.
Bank or utility statements will also be accepted if they have your name and address.
Election officials say despite the contentious nature of this election, they don’t plan to have additional security at the polls on Tuesday. Registrars say the presence of officers can intimidate voters and they don’t want anyone to feel their vote is being suppressed on election day.