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Dispatch From The Pre-dawn Voting Line In Fairfax

Reader and commenter Scott "Rhubarbs" Rogers sends this from Grosvenor precint in Fairfax, Virginia:

The important things to know about my precinct are that it has the highest ratio of Democratic participation in primary elections (we don't register by party in Virginia, so we use voters' choices of primary ballot as a proxy for party identification), and the lowest overall voter turnout, in Northern Virginia ...
In the morning, my wife and I headed out at 5:30 with our two dogs, hoping to be first in line for the 6:00 poll opening. When we arrived at the polling station at 5:50, there was already a line of about 150 people. It was a beautiful morning, warm and still. But very dark. The crowd was quiet, with lots of idle talking and laughter. Two people brought SLR cameras and were snapping photos of the line, holding their cameras above their heads. Two teams of besuited lawyers stood chatting outside the polls, while local Democrats had set up two tables and were roaming the line to hand out sample ballots. This was important, because the precinct had unexpectedly switched to optical-scan ballots instead of touch-screen. (Touch-screen ballots were available on request.)
Inside the building, the community center's TVs were playing an instruction video for using the optical-scan ballots. It was presented on a loop in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
We voted at exactly 7:00, so we spent one hour in line. The last photo, of the line in daylight, was taken at about 7:10, and it shows a line at least an hour and a half deep, assuming voting continued at the same pace it had while we were in line.
About 150 people had voted in the first hour, as many as typically vote all day in a non-presidential election year here. Of these, more than 80 had opted for the new optical-scan ballot (both my wife and I did so), a little more than 60 had opted for the old touch-screen ballot. I saw one newly registered voter, a twenty-something black man in a light blue Yankees cap, being forced to use provisional ballots, and twice poll workers took a miniature touch screen device out for elderly or handicapped voters to do "curbside voting," an option available to the handicapped and those 65 and older in Virginia.

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--Max Fisher