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Halifax County voters back GOP candidates

Republican Presidential challenger Mitt Romney swept 13 of 22 precincts in Halifax County for the victory here in Tuesday’s election.

Democratic President Barack Obama carried nine precincts.

County voters cast 8,691 votes for Romney compared to 7,760 votes for Obama giving the nod to the Republican presidential challenger by a margin of 931 votes here. 

County residents turned out in record numbers to cast ballots in the national election Tuesday. Long lines and lengthy waits were reported in most of the county’s precincts at various times throughout the day.

Voters braved the chilly temperatures, some waiting patiently in line for over an hour to cast their ballots, while other prospective voters left without being able to cast their vote.

“A few complained and complained bitterly,” said precinct worker Jewel DeWeese.

“We had some people here (voting in the South Boston East precinct) who were in line for an hour and 50 minutes. Some people didn’t get to vote because they had to leave to get to work and were not going to have a chance to come back. They were hot. Some said they were hoping to get back,” DeWeese added.

“I’m not trying to blame anybody. It’s a mess. Something should be done. Some of it (what could be done) would involve no cost, just do it differently.”

At 3:05 p.m. Tuesday, 709 of 1,711 registered voters in South Boston East had voted, and 444 of 972 registered voters in South Boston West precinct had voted representing 45 percent of voters in those precincts.

According to Halifax County General Registrar Judy Meeler, the voter turnout was even larger than anticipated with many precincts reporting by 11:30 a.m. more than a third of their voters had cast ballots.

Poll workers at South Boston East and West precincts at the National Guard Armory said lines of voters at times extended out the door onto the sidewalk.

 The heavy turnout was consistent at all the county’s polling places, Meeler said, adding that around 70 percent of voters typically cast ballots in a presidential election.

Tuesday’s election was no exception for Halifax County which has 24,029 registered voters.

The registrar said of the 1,570 absentee ballots requested in this election, 1,473 had been returned by noon Tuesday, and voters had until 7 p.m. to get their absentee ballots to the registrar’s office.

A total of 631 absentee ballots were mailed out to county voters for Tuesday’s General Election, she added. 

The registrar reported only a few glitches “like we always have on Election Day, but all in all it was very smooth.”


U. S. Senate seat

Former Republican Governor George Allen carried Halifax County receiving 8,875 of the votes in the county’s 22 precincts.

Former Democratic Governor Tim Kaine received 7,645 votes, and 24 votes were cast for write in candidates.

Both former governors were vying for the seat currently held by Democratic Senator Jim Webb who chose not to seek reelection to another term. 

5th District House of Representatives seat

In the 5th District House of Representatives race, the Associated Press called the election just before 8 p.m. for first-term Republican Congressman Robert Hurt. John Douglass officially conceded to Hurt shortly after 9 p.m.

Incumbent Hurt claimed victory in Halifax County with 8,368 votes to 7,210 for Democratic challenger Douglass. Independent Green challenger Kenneth Hildebrandt garnered 191 votes, and 14 votes were cast for write-in candidates.

Hurt carried 16 county precincts, and Douglass carried six.

Halifax Town Council seats

In the race for two seats on Halifax Town Council, newcomer Ronnie Duffey and incumbent William “Bill” Confroy were victorious over incumbent Councilman Holt Evans and challenger Mike Sexton.

With Courthouse and Center precincts reporting, Duffey received 273 votes, while Confroy garnered 267. Sexton received 166 votes, and Evans received 149. 

A total of 29 write-in votes were cast for the Ward B seat on Halifax Town Council, but Registrar Meeler said Tuesday night the votes for individuals would not be available until sometime Wednesday.


Virgilina Town Council seats

Seven incumbents seeking reelection on Virgilina Town Council Tuesday include Mayor Ralph Murray Jr. who received 71 votes and council members Samuel Torain III with 60 votes, Kirke C. Hooper with 56, Catherine Ellixson with 59, Thomas Keith Tuck Jr. with 56, Jason Johnson with 52 and Norman Talley receiving 62 votes.

Tuesday’s election represented the first time ever the towns of Halifax and Virgilina have held council elections in November coinciding with a presidential election.


Constitutional Amendments

Halifax County voters overwhelmingly supported both proposed constitutional amendments on Tuesday’s ballot with Question 1 concerning Virginia Eminent Domain receiving 16,758 yes votes to 3,539 no votes, and Question 2 about the Virginia Veto Session garnering 11,263 yes votes to 2,975 no votes.

The first question prohibits local governments from taking property for private gain or economic development, and the second amendment to the state Constitution allows the General Assembly to delay up to a week the starting date for a reconvened session when legislators meet to consider the governor’s amended or vetoed bills.

Question 1 involved the Virginia Eminent Domain Amendment, a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment that will prohibit eminent domain from being used for private enterprise, job creation, tax revenue generation or economic development, thereby restricting it to only being invoked to take private land for public use.

Question 2 involved the Virginia Veto Session Amendment allowing the legislature to delay the start of their veto session by up to one week. 

The stated intention of the measure was to prevent the veto session from starting on a holiday.