Charlottesville Hopes for Increased Turnout for Democratic Primary

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Polls open bright and early Tuesday morning across the commonwealth for the 2013 Democratic primary. It will determine who represents the Democratic Party on the ballot in November.

Primaries rarely pull voters to the polls. On average voter registrars say they expect about a five percent voter turnout during a primary - but this isn't your average year in Charlottesville.

"I'm hopeful that tomorrow we'll have like a 15 to 20 percent turnout because it's our local election. It's our local offices," Charlottesville Voter Registrar Sheri Iachetta said. "It's an exciting election for people who want to vote."

Iachetta says this heightened interest is likely a result of several hotly contested local races for two open Charlottesville City Council seats, Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney, and Charlottesville Commissioner of Revenue. If you lump those races together with the two statewide fights for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, Charlottesville boasts the largest ballot in the state.

All voting precincts in the state will be open Tuesday, and because it's an open primary anyone - regardless of party affiliation - can cast their vote.

"We have a little over 31,000 people in Charlottesville, they're all eligible to vote tomorrow," Iachetta said.

Registrars are working to make sure everything runs smoothly - but a small logistical hurdle will affect the way some voters cast ballots in downtown Charlottesville.

The nTelos Wireless Pavilion is hosting a concert Tuesday night, right as the polls close at 7 p.m. Starting at 5 p.m., the registrar says parking and traffic could become congested at the nearby Key Recreation Center, the city's most central voting precinct.

The voter registrar's office says it is coordinating with the pavilion to adjust traffic flow and make more parking available between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the parking lot between the City Hall Annex building and the Key Recreation Center. Voters are also asked to enter and exit between those two buildings during that time frame, as other areas will be blocked off for the concert. Voters will still have sidewalk access to the registrar's office. Everything will operate normally before 5 p.m.

Polls open for the 2013 Democratic primary at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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