To borrow from an old saying, reports of the demise of voters queuing up and casting ballots on Election Day appear to have been greatly exaggerated.
About two-thirds of Arlington voters casting ballots in the June 8 Democratic primary did so in person on the day of the election, rather than in advance.
“We’re settling back into pre-pandemic trends – voters have returned to Election Day voting,” said Gretchen Reinemeyer, the county’s chief of elections, who on June 30 debriefed Electoral Board members on how the voting went.
Last year, with the pandemic raging, about half of Arlington voters opted to stay away from precincts and cast ballots in advance, either by mail or in person at early-voting sites.
Despite the more lopsided in-person-on-Election-Day results of June 8, “I get the sense early voting is here to stay,” said Electoral Board chairman Matt Weinstein.
Will that be primarily in person or by mail? “I’m not sure,” Weinstein acknowledged.
At their June 30 meeting, Electoral Board members set the dates and times for the three early-voting sites that will accept ballots in the run-up to the general election. There will be few changes to 2020 except that election officials will add one day of Sunday voting (a first for Arlington). County Board members allocated $50,000 in this year’s budget to support the extra day.
“It’s a great opportunity to try out,” Weinstein said of Sunday voting. “We’ll see how it goes.”
“I am eager to see how many people are going to turn out,” added the board’s vice chair, Kim Phillip.
Election officials also have decided to keep the nine ballot dropboxes in their current locations. Ballots from those dropboxes are picked up seven days a week during the roughly month and a half leading up to the election.