Albemarle Co. officials urging voters to vote early during Democratic Primary, schools will be open

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 5:40 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The Democratic Primary is coming up Tuesday, June 8, but voters heading to their normal locations in Albemarle County may run into several issues if they vote in person.

In November, health officials strongly recommended voting early due to COVID-19. This time, the Albemarle Co. Electoral Board and school officials are asking you to vote early, and it’s not because of the pandemic.

”Schools will be in session, in person, on June the 8th,” Albemarle Co. Voter Registrar Jake Washburne said.

With schools open on voting day it will create a ripple effect of issues for voters.

“To go to a school during the morning drop off or the afternoon pick up, you could wind up being in a traffic line of parents dropping off their children or picking them up that could go for half an hour or 45 minutes,” Washburne said.

Director of Transportation Jim Foley says avoid 7:15-8:15 a.m. for most elementary schools, and between 9-9:45 a.m. for middle and high schools.

“So our bus capacity was reduced by 2/3. Consequently, a lot more traffic, parent traffic, is at the school each morning and afternoon. I would advise voters to avoid those times,” he said.

It’s not just traffic, with schools in session, voters will still head to their normal precinct, but the location within that precinct may change. It’s all to keep adults out of high-traffic areas like gymnasiums and maintain student safety.

“Voters have designated spaces that are separate from where students will be. That’s one of the top priorities for us is just making sure that there’s a singular identifiable space that’s for polls and then schools can function normally,” ACPS Spokesperson Helen Dunn said.

Albemarle County Public Schools denied the electoral board’s request to have a fully remote day on June 8.

“And so for us it was making sure that we contribute to keeping kids on their routine and keeping families in that flow that they’ve finally gotten to get into after all of these months,” Dunn said.

Saturday, June 5, is the last day to vote early. Another note, Charlottesville City Schools will be closed on June 8.

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