A healthy – but by no means record – turnout this morning meant long waits at the polls for some Roanoke Valley voters.
In Roanoke, voter turnout was 20.6 percent as of 10 a.m.. That’s down from 28.9 percent at the same time four years ago for the last presidential election.
Still, voters were facing long waits in some precincts.
City Councilman Sherman Lea said he stood in line for two hours and five minutes before he could cast his vote about 11 a.m. at William Ruffner Middle School.
Lea said there were only two poll workers checking voter credentials, causing a huge bottleneck. While people waited in large numbers to be approved to vote, some voting machines were actually open, Lea said.
“This is very pathetic,” said Lea, who has already complained to the city electoral board about what he considers poor planning.
Lea said he saw at least three people walk away in frustration. “They said, ‘I have to go to work.’ ”
In Roanoke County, turnout was 27.9 percent as of 10 a.m. – down from 33.2 percent four years ago.
Some county voters had to wait 30 minutes or so, Registrar Judy Stokes said.
“We don’t think for a presidential election that’s too terribly long,” Stokes said.
In Salem, early turnout was 26.5 percent: Montgomery County reported 22.7 percent.
– Laurence Hammack