Suffolk voters have solid off-year turnout

Published 10:37 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Although Tuesday’s turnout in no way compared to the passion and outpouring of support — both Republican and Democrat — of last year’s Election Day, this year did see solid numbers for an off-year election.

The marquee race many expected to draw voters did just that as residents turned out for the gubernatorial election, ultimately selecting Republican Bob McDonnell.

But, according to Election Board Chairman David Sylvia, the lone local race helped turnout.

“I think a lot of people did turn out for the sheriff’s race,” Sylvia said. “Although it wasn’t close in the end, it had a lot of interest and helped give us a turnout that was better than I expected.”

Overall, unofficial returns showed just over 34 percent of registered voters turned out for Tuesday’s vote. And, of those casting votes, 98 percent cast a ballot in the sheriff’s race that saw incumbent Raleigh Isaacs knock off Jay Clason.

But, the lack of local races for the House of Delegates, where all three local incumbents ran without opposition, led to a much shorter turnout than that of last November.

“It was nothing like last year, but that was completely different,” Sylvia said. “It was better than I anticipated, especially with just one local competitive race.”

Neighboring areas, that had a number of competitive local races, such as Isle of Wight, saw nearly a 50 percent turnout. Chesapeake had 38 percent turnout, while Portsmouth had just over 33 percent turnout.

With a few precincts left to report Tuesday night, an estimated 38 percent of all statewide voters turned out.