BY MICHAEL HIGH AND JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE
Virginia Beach voters, like Virginians in general, favored Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, respectively, in the Republican and Democratic primary voting held on Tuesday, March 1.
Election officials at some precincts reported steady turnout and relatively few incidences of confusion over voters only being able to vote in one of the primary races.
“It’s a good turnout,” said Jim Oglesby, chief election official at Capps Shop precinct in Back Bay, early in the day.
“It’s very steady,” his wife, Betty Oglesby, agreed.
Jim Oglesby added that the new paper-ballot system introduced this past year was working very well.
“I love the new system,” he said.
Around the city, voters came out to be counted. “I was really expecting to have a line this morning, with all the campaigning we have been putting up with during the last year,” said Fred Stemple of West Neck, who voted in the GOP primary.
Voters at several precincts said their decisions reflected the difficulty of this year’s race, which has been contentious on the Republican side as Trump has strengthened his position. Several voters declined to discuss their pick in that primary, but they did discuss the decision in general and the decision to participate.
Elsewhere, Deborah Koppe of Lago Mar noted that someone representing the Democratic Party tried to get her to vote in that primary as she entered the polls. She said she voted in the Republican primary, and she already knew her candidate.
“I will still stick with a Republican, no matter what,” she said.
“You have to get out and vote to make sure you get your vote counted, even though it may not turn out the way you wanted, which has happened to us for a while,” she added. “But, you just keep trying.”
Jennifer Bozeman, 38, of Heritage Park said she voted in the Republican primary and would stay with the party in November. Her daughter, Abby Bozeman, was with her, and Jennifer Bozeman said it was important for her child to see the process.
“I want them to be able to grow up and do the same thing,” Jennifer Bozeman said. “You can’t complain if you don’t vote.”
“It was a cool experience,” Abby Bozeman added.
“I’d like to see Hillary Clinton be our president,” said Melinda Brown of West Neck. “I like her policies, I like her approach. She’s very, very experienced, very, very intelligent, and I think she would be an extraordinary leader for us. Plus we get two presidents for the price of one.”
In Creeds, Tara White, a counselor in residence at a church, held a homemade sign outside the precinct. It was heart shaped and touted Bernie Sanders.
Inside the precinct, Anne Bright, the chief election official, said the morning of voting had gone well. She helped Kaylee Cocke, 21, a student and aspiring farmer.
“Which primary would you like to vote in?” Bright asked.
“You can’t vote in both?” Cocke asked.
“You can’t vote in both,” Bright said.
Cocke made her choice, and, after voting, said she picked Sanders in the Democratic primary. White, who had had few connections with passersby that day, had her husband take a picture of her Cocke.
City Treasurer John Atkinson, speaking before the voting began, said the No Light Rail effort he has led was closing in on the number of signatures needed to force a referendum on extending light rail from Newtwon Road to Town Center, which the organization opposes.
The group had volunteers at different precencts that during the November election to try to reach new voters and potential signers of the referendum petition.
“It’s really incredible the response we’re getting,” he said.
© 2016 Pungo Publishing Co. LLC