Slightly more than 1.1 million of the 5.9 million registered voters in Virginia chose to vote early in one of the most-watched gubernatorial races in recent history between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin.
But the final outcome will happen Tuesday on Election Day after residents such as Marian Stanfield of Alexandria casts their ballots.
Stanfield walked to the Durant Community Center to vote for McAuliffe and the other Democratic candidates including lieutenant governor candidate Del. Hala Ayala and Mark Herring for attorney general.
“All elections are important, but this one especially,” said Stanfield, a retired AT&T employee whose family has resided in the city for 50 years. “You have [Youngkin] endorsed by [former President Donald Trump]. I knew I would not vote for him.”
David Bella of Alexandria also voted for the Democratic ticket. He said McAuliffe’s experience as a former governor helped in his decision.
“I felt like he is more in the middle of the road than Youngkin,” Bella, 30, said. “I still feel pretty strongly that the Republican Party is far to the right.”
Recent polls show Youngkin either 1 percentage point behind or tied with McAuliffe.
If Youngkin wins, he would be the first GOP candidate to win the governor’s seat since Robert McDonnell in 2010. Voters elected McAuliffe for the next four years until 2018, but Virginia law doesn’t allow for candidates to run for two consecutive terms.
Ayala’s Republican opponent, Winsome Sears, served in the House of Delegates in the early 2000s and became the first Black woman in the GOP elected.
Jason Miyares represents the Republican nominee running for attorney general.
Third-party candidate Princess Blanding, representing the Liberation Party, is also on the ballot for governor.
The 100 seats in the House of Delegates are up for election with Democrats holding a 55-45 advantage.
As voting continued throughout the day, a few voters in Prince William County such as Dawn Kaess of Manassas said they support Youngkin’s conservative values and parental grievance. Conservatives have accused some local school boards of implementing a liberal cultural agenda.
Matt Ferguson of Woodbridge voted for Youngkin due to his stance on eliminating the grocery tax and support for law enforcement.
“I know there’s been a lot of incidents [and] it has been looked down upon, but we should still support law enforcement,” Ferguson said. “I hope he does something about the grocery taxing and overall state of Virginia.”
Polls are open until 7 p.m. For information on where to vote, go to www.elections.virginia.gov.
Natalie C. Hockaday contributed to this story.