Shenandoah County voters enjoy a polite Election Day
Polling stations in Shenandoah County saw a steady stream of voters on Tuesday casting their votes for their preferred presidential candidate.
Outside polling stations, campaigners in Woodstock passed out flyers and informed voters about their candidates’ platforms before later thanking them for voting.
Katherine Morrison, 65; Sara Garland, 70; and Margaret Lorenz, 76, all of Woodstock, campaigned for Hillary Clinton outside the polls at Central High School.
Morrison said the polls remained busy throughout the day, but without any incidents, and she was fascinated by how smooth the process had been. She said nine out of 10 people who stopped by her booth as of late morning on Tuesday were women.
“People are really nice,” she said. “Everyone I speak to responds and they may be headed right for the Trump table, but they stop and smile and they are polite.”
Morrison said she was worried about the tensions that may have arisen on Election Day but was glad she didn’t notice any animosity among voters.
“I feel like Trump has tried to agitate that it’s (the election was) fixed, and I was afraid that some people might respond to that in an aggressive way and we’ve seen no indication of that at all,” she said.
Lorenz added that the group had been handing out sample ballots and after voting, those who stopped by the booth received a free Hillary sticker.
Melanie Griffy, 29, of Edinburg, voted at Central High School and said the process was smooth, without any hiccups.
She said the election has been crazy and it “shows what our country has culminated to. Everything is just so out of whack.”
She said she voted for Donald Trump at the polls.
“When you have evil versus idiot,” she said, “but I figure he can hopefully do less damage.”
She said she believes a higher power is at work here and no matter how the election turns out, it’s just one election and “we’re going to be OK.”
A similar scene was set at the Strasburg High School polling station.
Daniel Martin, 46, of Strasburg, campaigned for Trump outside the Strasburg polling station, greeting voters and offering voter guides.
“We’re not pushing anything on anybody,” he said. “We let them make their own decision.”
He added that he has noticed more early voting this year than in previous election years. He said he thinks this may be due to heightened election enthusiasm this year.
Randy Gilbert, events chairman for the Republican Committee, said that overall he felt good about the election.
He said they were learning how to use data better and had nine poll watchers total, with three at a time at the poll by law. They were using rVotes, which is a campaign and election software for conservatives.
“It’s basically meant to get us up to where the Democrats are at with being able to use data and so we are testing it out, trying it out” he said. “It’s a new thing for us and we’re looking to the future to being able to use it throughout the county.”
Willard Dodson, 60, of Strasburg, said the voting process was smooth, even if there was a lot of arguing and bickering taking place during the election season.
“They hardly ever spoke about what they are going to do for us,” he said. “They just argue back and forth with one another.”
He said he voted for Trump and Pence.
“We just need changes,” he said. “We’ve had the Clintons before.”
John Schillinger, precinct chair for Strasburg for the Democratic Party of Shenandoah County, said the Democrats also had a table set up at the Strasburg polling site to show their presence at the polls.
“There really are Democrats in Shenandoah County,” he said.
He added that the atmosphere at the polls had been “very peaceful” and “sociable” between Democrats and Republicans.
He said he has heard about stolen signs from both parties throughout the election, but had not heard of anything more severe.
Later Tuesday night, Vito Gentile, chairman of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee, talked about the Sixth District Race between U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, and Kai Degner, a Democrat from Harrisonburg. Goodlatte defeated Degner 223,470 votes to 111,354, according to unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections.
“(The margin) is probably what we (Republicans) expected,” Gentile said. “We’re very happy about that. … We have our affection for the congressman. … I think he’s a very good congressman; he’s a very conservative congressman. He’s in probably the most conservative district in Virginia. It affirms the fact that he is popular, he seems to meet the values and hopefully the needs of his constituents.”
Gentile noted that Goodlatte is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a ranking member of the Agriculture Committee.
“These are things that are very important to the people in the Sixth District. You start out with a freshman congressman, you don’t have those types of positions in the House,” Gentile said. “We’re looking for the congressman to be in a very important and effective position here in the coming years, certainly the next two years and it’s good. It’s good to have your congressman in these chairmanships, quite frankly.”
Luther Santiful, chairman of the Shenandoah County Democratic Committee, praised Degner.
“Kai is a really solid citizen and I think that there’s hope for him down the line even if he doesn’t succeed this time,” Santiful said. “To be honest, I don’t know of anything that Goodlatte has done that benefits the average citizen. Kai is a young guy, he’s into things that are important in today’s environment and I think that in the long term, he’s going to beOK. … There’s hope for him.”
Staff writer Nathan Budryk contributed to this report.
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