10am report: As I pointed out yesterday, I will be providing information as it becomes available. I was up bright and early at 5:30 and was at the Fair Lakes precinct when it opened at 6am this morning. Voter turnout there was low while I was there, but there were people trickling in during the "pre-work voting." The turnout in the precincts in the surrounding area has also been relatively low, which could be a good sign for Marsden as the Western portion of the district generally trends Republican. This is likely to be the case again this year as Marsden is based in the Burke area and those voters know him better to begin with.
10:15am report: I was hoping that it would be a good sign that there was low turnout in the western portion of the district, but I'm also hearing reports that turnout is relatively low in the Burke area as well. AIAW voted in Fairview precinct, for instance, and reported that there were only 115 voters at 7:30 this morning even though there were members of the press there covering the election. Since that was relatively early this morning, I will be working to get an update on the numbers there soon. Also, she said that there was a checkpoint in the HOV lanes on 95 this morning which was bringing traffic to a halt. I bring this up because I have also seen a lot of police officers out in the community today. I doubt this has to do with the election, but the increase of police cars in the streets was noticeable enough that it's worth bringing up here.
12:30 pm report: I just got by from dropping by a couple polling places in the Burke area and there has been a steady stream of people voting. Since AIAW had reported on Fairview this morning, I wanted to go by to check out how it was looking. The parking lot was completely filled and there even a few cars parked outside of regular spots, which was partly a result of a relatively small parking lot. When I was finally able to get a spot and go inside at about 11:45, there was a line of about 20 to 25 people waiting to vote. A fellow blogger who I ran into at another polling place told me that he couldn't get a parking space at Fairview so he didn't even go inside, which makes me wonder about what might happen during the evening rush of voters. This was driven home further when I stopped by Terra Centre Elementary School a few minutes later because that parking lot was also filled. Over near Robinson High School, I stopped in at Oak View Elementary School a little before noon and 348 people had voted already.
The line at Fairview and the vote totals from other precincts in the Burke area are a very good sign for Dave Marsden since this is not only the more Democratic portion of the district, but is also his home base. In contrast, the western portion of the district, which must perform well if Steve Hunt wants to win, didn't have very high turnout so far. When I was at the Centreville United Methodist Church and Centre Ridge Elementary, for instance, I only saw a grand total of 3 people go into vote while I was there.
12:45 update: Another interesting trend I picked up on was that there weren't any people from either party out at the polling places. I know the Marsden campaign has people making phone calls to turn out their supporters, which is probably the most effective thing to do at this point in the game because the turnout at the polls is likely going to small and most voters in this special election will have already made up when they get to their polling place. This is especially the case during the low traffic times since I believe most of the polling places had at least some presence during the morning rush. With voters so used to being constantly offered sample ballots on their way into the polls, however, I'd be interested to hear what they thought about not having party activists at the polls.
7:15pm update: The polls closed at 7pm and the results should be coming in shortly. You can view them by following this link, though I'll update once we have a winner.
8:36 update: I'm predicting that Dave Marsden will be the winner in this election. Although Marsden's margin is small, Steve Hunt won't be able to pick up enough votes to overcome Marsden.
What else are people hearing?