Voters to decide on local, state, national elections

Election official Teresa Orndorff works on lining up polling booths inside Strasburg High School on Monday as officials prepare for today's elections. Rich Cooley/Daily

Residents of Shenandoah, Warren and Frederick counties are heading to the polls today to select a new president, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives and local officials, and to vote on two state constitutional referendums.

While today is Election Day, many registered voters have already cast absentee ballots. In Shenandoah County, 1,804 out of 28,352 registered voters (6 percent) cast absentee ballots as of 2 p.m. Monday, according to data provided by Lynn Manuel, assistant registrar. She said she expects roughly 100 more absentee ballots to arrive in the mail between Monday and Tuesday.

In Frederick County, 3,207 voters sent in absentee ballots, out of 56,290 registered voters (6 percent), according to Rick Miller, general registrar and director of elections for Frederick County.

Information on absentee ballots was not available for Warren County on Monday.

In Shenandoah and Warren counties, voters will help decide on a representative for Virginia’s Sixth District. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, is being challenged by Democrat Kai Degner of Harrisonburg.

In Frederick County, voters will cast ballots in the high-profile race for Virginia’s 10th District. Democrat LuAnn Bennett, of McLean, is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-McLean.

Linda Williams, assistant elections chief, hangs an exit sign outside the polling station at Strasburg High School on Monday afternoon. Rich Cooley/Daily

Residents of Front Royal, Stephens City and Middletown will select new council members today.

Three seats are up for election in Middletown. Incumbents Carole Snyder Jones, Carolyn Aliff and George “Jay” Smith are running against Marshall “Mark” Brown and Gilbert “Gil” Barrington.

In Front Royal, five candidates are running for three Town Council seats. Incumbents Eugene Tewalt and Jacob Meza are running against Mike McCool, William “Bill” Sealock Jr. and Robert Tennett Jr.

In Stephens City, four candidates are running for three open council seats. Incumbents Joseph Hollis and Ron Bowers are running against Kelly Ann Thatcher and Ron Bowers.

Middletown and Front Royal voters will cast ballots for mayor. Charles Harbaugh IV, of Middletown, and Hollis Tharpe, of Front Royal, are running unopposed.

Two state referendums are on the ballot: One asks if spouses of first responders who have died in the line of duty should receive a conditional exemption from property taxes, and the other asks if the constitution should be amended to allow employees to choose not to join a union.

Information on the candidates and referendums can be found at www.nvdaily.com/politics.

For information on what exactly will appear on the ballot and where to vote, voters can get that information and check their registration status at the Virginia Department of Elections website at http://tiny.cc/ho3ogy.

While voter turnout in non-presidential election years floats between roughly 30 and 40 percent of registered voters, 72 percent of voters cast a ballot in 2012, 75 percent in 2008 and 71 percent in 2004, according to data provided by the Virginia Department of Elections.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to indicate that Hollis Tharpe is running unopposed for mayor in the Front Royal.