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WATCH NOW: Low turnout greets Danville voters on rainy Election Day in coronavirus era

WATCH NOW: Low turnout greets Danville voters on rainy Election Day in coronavirus era

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Danville voter Anita Renee Douglas had no problem casting her ballot Tuesday at Bonner Middle School under social distancing guidelines imposed at precincts throughout the city. 

"I thought it was well organized," Douglas said outside the door at the school just after voting on a cool and rainy morning. "I felt very comfortable with it."

City voters chose from among nine candidates vying for five seats on Danville City Council and five contenders competing for four slots on the Danville School Board. 

Turnout at the polls is usually low for local elections and Tuesday was no exception, especially since so many chose to vote absentee ahead of time. 

As of noon Tuesday, just 5% of 1,889 registered votes had turned out at the Coates Recreation Center polling precinct. 

"It's a little bit better than expected, but still kind of slow," said precinct chief Brenda Rowland, who was seated at a voter check-in table behind a framed, clear shower curtain that formed a barrier between poll workers and voters.

At the 16 polling places throughout the city, workers frequently wiped down voting stations and table tops and offered hand sanitizer to voters, who cast their votes with disposable pens.  

Pouring rain and social distancing restrictions also did not stop Coates voter Wayne Smith from performing his civic duty. 

"Since becoming an adult, I don't think I've ever missed an election," Smith said, adding that "everything went fine" during the voting process. 

He would not reveal who he voted for, however. 

Over at Ballou Recreation Center, voter Clementine Tunstall said of her experience at the ballot box under social distancing: "It was comfortable, peaceful." 

Even with restrictions in place, "No one was in there to intimidate me," Tunstall added. 

She also would not state her picks among the city council and school board candidates. 

Ballou Recreation Center precinct chief Joni Williamson said only about 170 out of about 3,000 registered voters had showed up at the polls by mid-day Tuesday.  

Other than two small spikes in the number of voters between 11 a.m. and noon, it has been slow, she said. 

"A whole lot of people voted absentee," Williamson said, adding that people have "been fine with" the social distancing guidelines.  

Nearly 90 out of about 2,400 registered voters had stopped by Bonner Middle School precinct, said chief Thomas Betts. 

Those who have come in followed social distancing guidelines. 

"So far, everything's been working out well," Betts said. 

Inside the Bonner Middle School precinct, shower curtains on frames slightly obscured poll workers' masked faces. Red signs taped to the top of the curtains read, "Notice: Please Maintain Social Distancing." 

Blue Xs on the floor marked the 6-foot distance people were expected to maintain from one another. 

Outside, Douglas said she voted for City Council candidates Larry Campbell, Sheila Baynes and Barry Mayo and school board candidates Tyrell Payne and Philip Campbell. 

"He has a very good work ethic," Douglas said of Mayo. "I voted for the people I have personal knowledge of."

Over at Swanson Studio precinct behind the Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History, roughly 49 of a little more than 900 registered voters had showed up. 

"It's not a normal election," said precinct chief Mattie Carter. "We have more at the presidential election than at any other elections."

Crane reports for the Register & Bee. He can be reached at (434) 791-7987.

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