Republican turnout was heavy this morning in the closely-watched 97th House District nomination fight between Del. Chris Peace and his challenger, Hanover County Supervisor Scott Wyatt.
Balloting began without incident, despite numerous attempts  by allies of Wyatt to cancel today’s vote. Those efforts were rebuffed on Thursday, clearing the way for balloting.
In Hanover, a line of voters wrapped around the building when polls opened at 10AM. Unfazed by controversy, Peace greeted voters in line, receiving ample and warm support from the overflow crowd. Judging by lapel stickers, Peace was running a healthy lead in early morning balloting.
Likewise, in rural New Kent, voters waited in long lines outside George Watkins Elementary, finally ready to have their say after months of controversy.
Voting is scheduled to continue through 4 PM. Republicans in the 97th may cast their ballot by bringing their photo ID to the polling location in their county of residence.
HD97 polling locations are as follows:
VFW Post 9808
7168 Flag Lane
Mechanicsville, VA 23111
King William County
King William Ruritan Park
156 Ruritan Lane
King William, VA 23086
New Kent County
George Watkins Elementary
6501 New Kent Highway
Quinton, VA 23141
As of noon, turnout was exceeding expectations.
Update x1 (1:12 PM):
As of 12:58 PM, 577 ballots were cast in Hanover, 442 in New Kent, and 228 ballots in King William. Observers estimate turnout of between 2000 and 3000 before voting is over at 4 PM.
Update x2 (3:07 PM):
Turnout continues to be strong. As of last count, 660 ballots had been cast in New Kent and 315 in King William.
Hanover poll workers are struggling too keep a running total, as fast as votes are coming in, with the expected final total in excess of 2500.
Update x3 (3:21 PM):
Bearing Drift is hearing reports of an incident at the polling location in New Kent County. Allegedly, a disruptive individual was asked by sheriff’s deputies to leave, after walking in and attempting to seize completed voting forms. One voter who says she witnessed the incident posted photos to Facebook .
Update 4x (3:49 PM)
Turnout in Hanover has surpassed 2250 voters. Poll workers are expecting a long count ahead.
Update 5x (4:51 PM)
Vote counting continues in Hanover, under tight security. Results from the unit are expected to post last, after which final numbers will be available.
Photos from Today’s Firehouse Primary