At 5 a.m. this morning, 100 people already were lined up waiting to vote at L. Douglas Wilder Middle School in Henrico County.
By 11 a.m., 941 voters had already come through the door to cast ballots in the precinct, which has 1,800 voters registered. A half hour later, they were “over 1,000” according to one poll worker. Add to that the 300 voters who cast absentee ballots from the precinct -- which is just north of the city line off Route 301 -- more than half of the precinct voted before lunchtime.
“I can remember one year where we had trouble getting a little over 300 people all day,” the poll worker says.
Among those lined up at the polls early this morning, was a sleepy-eyed, sweat-suit-clad state Sen. Donald McEachin, D-9th, who lives in the nearby Chickahominy Bluffs neighborhood. He‘s the head speaker at Democratic Party’s party at Toad's Place tonight.
He arrived at 6 a.m., wound his way through the line and cast his vote nearly two hours later. He says he plans to dress up for tonight's event.
“No need to get gussied up in this weather, but you do notice the blue sweat suit,” he says.
Meanwhile, the Obama camp is already celebrating. At 1 o'clock at the city campaign headquarters on Marshall Street behind the Siegel Center, the mood was already jubilant. Whoops and cheers emanated from the alley and the streets, if not a bit premature, perhaps a sign of things to come.
Bobby Whithorne, Virginia spokesman for the Obama campaign, says supporters and campaign workers are not counting yet on a victory, but they're encouraged by some of the early numbers and the overall turnout. -- Chris Dovi