Henrico voters face long lines at precincts

But registrar doesn't expect higher turnout than 2008
UPDATED: 2:30 P.M. – Voting in Henrico County – viewed as one of several key swing counties in the nation in today's presidential election – was brisk this morning and early afternoon, with longer than normal lines reported countywide and many voters waiting an hour or more to cast their ballots.

But despite the crowds, Henrico Registrar Mark Coakley told the Citizen that he doesn't expect voter turnout today to exceed the county's 79.8 percent turnout rate in the 2008 presidential election.

That year, morning rain kept turnout slightly lower early in the day. Today, voters had only cold temperatures to deal with as they went to the polls. The morning rush should reduce the length of lines at Henrico's 92 precincts this evening, Coakley said.

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney identified Henrico early in this campaign as the key swing county in Virginia, the potential key state in the election. Obama won the county by nearly 19,000 votes four years ago, turning a historically red county blue. His victory here that year was due in large part to his 23,000-vote advantage over Republican John McCain in the Fairfield and Varina districts.

For Romney to paint Henrico red today, he'll likely need to cut into Obama's margins in those two districts and attract more voters in the traditionally Republican Three Chopt and Tuckahoe districts, where McCain won by slightly less than 9,000 votes in 2008.

If Romney's margins in those two district offset Obama's margins in Fairfield and Varina, then the county's vote could come down to the Brookland District – which McCain won four years ago by just 42 votes out of the 37,219 cast there.

This is the first presidential election since the county shifted the lines of its magisterial districts slightly in 2011, following the 2010 U.S. census.

Only minor voting issues had been reported in Henrico as of 1:45 p.m. today. Power flickered at two precincts in the Fairfield District this morning, but Dominion Power crews quickly restored it and no votes were lost, Coakley said.

The number of absentee voters in the county was lower this year than in 2008 by about 4,000, Coakley said. But, at about 16,000, "it's still high," he said.

Henrico voters today also are helping select a replacement for outgoing U.S. Senator Jim Webb in a race contesting former governors George Allen, a Republican, and Tim Kaine, a Democrat. Webb defeated Allen six years ago to claim the seat.

Voters in the western portion of Henrico also are choosing between Republican incumbent Eric Cantor and Democrat Wayne Powell in the race for the 7th District U.S. House of Representatives seat, while voters in the eastern part of the county are choosing between Democratic incumbent Bobby Scott and Republican challenger Dean Longo.



Bail Bonds Chesterfield VA

Democrat VanValkenburg kicks off Gen. Assembly campaign


Senior students at Glen Allen High School will get a personal touch when studying elections with their AP government teacher.

That teacher, Schuyler VanValkenburg, recently announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the 72nd District seat in the House of Delegates. If he earns the nomination, he will run against Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico, who has been unopposed for 10 years.

VanValkenburg, a 2004 University of Richmond alumnus who majored in history, is running for office for the first time. Although he has lived in Richmond since he began his undergraduate studies, aside from one year spent in Seattle, he said he never felt it was his time to run. > Read more.

Construction begins on JA Finance Park at Libbie Mill


School and business leaders from around the region, including (pictured, from left) Simon Hodges of Dominion Resources, Daphne Swanso(president of Junior Achievement of Central Virginia) and Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas, gathered at Libbie Mill Library Feb. 23 for the Junior Achievement Finance Park construction kickoff. > Read more.

Assembly poised to OK state budget on Friday


Finishing a day early, House and Senate negotiators agreed on a budget Wednesday that includes employee pay raises and more money for K-12 education and mental health.

The negotiators presented their budget to their fellow lawmakers in time for the required 48-hour review, which could be completed by Friday night with a chance to adjourn their 2017 session before Saturday’s target date.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate praised the spending plan’s conservative fiscal policies. > Read more.

Section of Charles City Road to close beginning Feb. 26


A section of Charles City Road, from Lewis Road to South Airport Drive, will be closed beginning Sunday, Feb. 26 as part of a project to widen and improve the road.

The Henrico County Department of Public Works expects the closure to last for a few weeks.

Westbound traffic on Charles City will be detoured around the work zone by way of South Airport, Seven Hills Boulevard and Laburnum Avenue. > Read more.

ACLU urges McAuliffe to veto anti-immigration bills


Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union called on Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday to veto Republican-backed legislation banning local governments in Virginia from designating themselves as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. They also said they plan to fight federal and state policies that they believe violate immigrants’ rights.

At a news conference, representatives of the ACLU of Virginia and other civil rights organizations criticized anti-immigrant measures passed by the General Assembly. They also condemned the recent spike in deportation raids on immigrant communities in Virginia by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as President Donald Trump’s recent executive order banning immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries. > Read more.
Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Eastern Henrico Business Association will hold its general meeting at 6 p.m. at the Airport Hilton Garden Inn at 441 International Center Dr. in Sandston. Urban Grid will discuss the Briel Solar Farm Project. The meeting is free to attend and open to the public. For details, call 222-3338 or visit http://www.ehba.us. Full text

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