Despite a two-week delay, Lynchburg area elections are going along as planned Tuesday.
Local elections will take place in Lynchburg and the town of Appomattox.
All four city ward seats are up for election in Lynchburg, as well as the mayoral and town council seats in Appomattox.
Polls in both localities open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
All 18 regular polling precincts will be open in the city of Lynchburg; however, the Ward I polling station, located at the Rivermont Presbyterian Church, will be conducted in a tent at the back of the parking lot.
Lynchburg General Registrar Christine Gibbons said the department is taking precautions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will have Virginia Medical Reserve Corps volunteers on hand to help election officials maintain the standards of safety.
All election officers will be wearing masks and gloves, although the same will not be required of voting residents. People will present their IDs though clear barriers at the check-in table, and be required to maintain a 6-foot distance between other voters.
Gibbons said this may mean the process takes a little longer this year, but that the act of voting itself will look the same as always.
“People can expect to see the usual faces they see at the ballot boxes this week,” Gibbons said. “We hope voters will come out to vote and feel safe to do so.”
The department encouraged voters to vote absentee, and saw a significant uptick in absentee ballots cast, she said.
In 2016, 130 people voted absentee. For this election, the department sent off more than 3,000 ballots, and has received back 2,600.
With 52,000 people eligible to vote in Lynchburg, Gibbons said they usually see a 10% to 12% turnout. This year, they don’t know what to expect.
The town of Appomattox will conduct its elections at the precinct on Confederate Boulevard, in the CVCC Satellite Center.
Appomattox General Registrar Sabrina Smith said they were gearing up to potentially do drive-up voting, with election officers delivering ballots directly to resident cars. However, with torrential downpours on the horizon, she said this plan is subject to change and might evolve.
Safety precautions, like social distancing, will be taken by the precincts.
Sarah Honosky covers Appomattox and Campbell counties at The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5556.
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