VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton Roads voters are still showing up in droves to take advantage of early voting ahead of Election Day.
More than 115,000 people have already voted early in Virginia Beach as of Monday, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. The deadline for early in-person voting is Saturday, Oct. 31 in both Virginia and North Carolina.
There have been long lines at times in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, especially at the Virginia Beach Registrar’s Office at the municipal center. You can check current wait times here.
Some people can wait at least an hour, depending on when and where you vote. Satellite locations in Virginia Beach include Bayside Recreation Center, Great Neck Recreation Center, Seatack Recreation Center and the Kempsville Treasurer’s Office.
On Friday, several voters were in line as early as 6 a.m. to vote at the treasurer’s office, with the municipal center open at 8 a.m. and satellite locations open at 9 a.m.
In person voting goes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at all locations in Virginia Beach.
According to the Virginia Beach general registrar, in the 2016 presidential election, there were 32,000 absentee ballots. Now that we have added early voting in-person, 108,000 have now voted through Thursday. That’s nearly 3.5 times the number in 2016.
“I think it will be as long or longer than yesterday,” said Virginia Beach voter Stuart Dickey on Friday. “I think today and tomorrow it will be tough to get here. If you don’t get here early, you better come and wait a long time.” Many voters brought chairs to wait in line.
If you requested an absentee ballot and haven’t delivered it by mail, election officials strongly encourage you to go to your local registrar’s office or satellite office to drop it off in-person.
What voters are saying
Voters tell 10 On Your Side they are looking at local races and social causes when casting their vote.
We found Robert Foley standing in line. He has a hunch on why this election has already seen such high turnout.
“Our nation is up in arms ready to vote… I’m here standing in line trying to get my vote out.”
The phrase “time for change” can be heard often among voters.
Robert Lang, along with Foley, was standing in line at the Seatack Community Recreation Center Friday.
“Why are people voting? They are voting for change, that’s what I got to say… everything needs to change,” said Lang, who is voting for former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Madsens arrived to vote early in part because they will be out of state on Election Day. Dave Madsen told us.
“I think a lot of [the early voting interest] has to do with COVID restrictions. I’m glad people are coming out to vote early.”
His wife, Cindy, was happy to see people getting involved.
“There’s a lot of issues, and I think it’s great to see people out here getting involved whichever side they are on.”
10 On Your Side also found Linda Cooper, who said she hasn’t voted in years.
“We need a change. We need a change in everything. That’s why I am here. This is my first time and I’m excited,” she said.
Meghan Melton was near the front of the line.
“I think it is a very contentious election. People are very engaged and everything, and voices need to be heard. I am waiting in this line for two hours so I am not waiting four to five hours on Election Day.”
Virginia Beach mayoral candidate R.K. Kowalewitch was also at the early voting location Friday. 10 On Your Side asked him what he thinks all this early voting means.
“I don’t think it’s going to be as busy as people think on Election Day because at least two-thirds of the people will have voted. It looks that way to me,” he said.
Down at Building 14 at the Municipal Center in Virginia Beach, people in line circled the entire parking lot.
We found Kai White in line after two hours of waiting. She did not seem bothered by that at all.
“I am here to do my civic duty. I am doing my duty to change this world because it is a bit of a mess right now.”
Mike Reardon is not surprised by the lines.
“I think a lot of people are interested in what is going on, and they have a lot of things to say, and they want to think about what they need to do.”
Robert Mireles is for President Donald Trump.
“I am for Trump… .I do think he’s been unfairly blamed for the pandemic, yes. Unfairly blamed for how he handled it. The opponents will always go to the opposite side of what has happened.”
Early voting has been going on since Sept. 18. Through Thursday, 64,367 people at five polling sites have stood in line to vote. The deadline to vote early is Saturday at 5 p.m.
For more information on early voting and more, visit WAVY’s Voter Guide.