Massive numbers of mostly masked voters lined up across Virginia Friday morning as early voting got underway there and in three other states.
An estimated 350 people waited in a socially distanced line that stretched down the block to cast their ballots in Fairfax County, a northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC. So many people turned out that election workers had to scramble to open an additional voting room at the county government center.
On the first day of early voting, lines at the Fairfax County Government Center are out the door (but don’t worry, there are many more days left to vote early and more locations will open in October). #Election2020 pic.twitter.com/HaR06mAYO5
— Fairfax County Government 🇺🇸 🎃👻 (@fairfaxcounty) September 18, 2020
The scene was similar across the commonwealth. In the capital of Richmond, TV station NBC12 reported there was “a steady stream of voters all day long with hundreds showing up, even by the busload, to cast a ballot.”
There may be 6+ weeks until Election Day 2020, but early voting in Virginia actually starts today — and there are dozens of voters in line to vote in person even before the building here in Richmond, VA opens pic.twitter.com/LchWhknggp
— Amanda Golden (@amandawgolden) September 18, 2020
Long lines also were evident in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, where voters waited in the rain.
Minnesota, New Jersey and South Dakota also kicked off early voting on Friday. Jason Miller, 33, a painter, was at the front of the line at the early voting center in heavily Democratic Minneapolis. Officials said 44 people voted in the first half hour after polls opened.
Proudly wearing his “I Voted Early” sticker on his face mask, Miller told the Associated Press he arrived at 7:15 a.m. to vote against President Donald Trump. “Probably many times over the last four years I had thought, ‘I’m going to be the first dude in Minnesota to say ‘no way’ to this guy,’” Miller said after voting for Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
Vocal Trump critic and cofounder of The Lincoln Project George Conway saw Friday’s early voting turnout as a positive sign.
the turnout looks like a lot of people who are mask compliant, which to me is a good sign
— The Ghost of George Conway (@gtconway3dg) September 18, 2020