Cold weather, long lines and scarce parking were not enough to deter Annandale residents from heading to the polls on Tuesday morning.
A little more than 300 voters checked in at Precinct 513 at St. Albans Church around 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday. The line at the church remained out the door all morning.
The precinct is split between the 8th and 11th districts and some voters were experiencing difficulty when trying to sign in with their voter registration cards specifying one district, when poll workers' paperwork indicated the voter was in another district. The confusion caused some delays for some voters, but not enough to significantly slow down traffic at the precinct.
Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) and student groups took advantage of the large crowds by holding bake sales near the entrance to the precincts, offering donuts, coffee and other baked goods in exchange for donations. Most had been outside since the polls opened at 6 a.m.
Parking was scarce at the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department precinct 518 on Columbia Pike as the line wrapped around the building hall. Precinct Chief Vicki Lynne Bartz said poll workers were seeing steady lines of traffic all morning and there were no issues with any of the machines.
"The line for the electronic stations and the paper ballots is split pretty evenly," said Bartz.
Precinct 106 Heritage at Braddock Elementary School had a line extending far into the parking lot. Between 300-400 voters had checked in after 8:30 a.m. Traffic at the school was so heavy that cars circled the parking lot several times before attempting to find parking on the street and walking to the school. Some cars chose to turn around all together, likely to try again later.
The precinct sees a lot of English as a Second Language (ESOL) voters, so there were translators on hand at the door greeting voters. There were pamphlets in Spanish readily available at the door. Assistant Precinct Chief Sally Patterson said the high voter turnout at the precinct made it seem like there were not enough machines to accommodate voters.
"There's just a lot of people here. Historically, this is pretty typical for a presidential election," said Patterson.
Most voters preferred not to reveal which candidates they voted for upon leaving the precinct, but one man, who did not disclose his name, said he was voting for "Romney all the way."
"It's time for a change, some real change," he said.