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To the Polls 

Undeterred by rain and lines, Richmond voters turn out in high numbers.

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Laura Ingles

By 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, more than 700 voters from precinct 204 had already cast their ballots at First Baptist Church. According to the city registrar’s office, that precinct saw 865 ballots in the 2014 midterms and 1,856 in the 2016 presidential election.

For some, it’s the first time voting for any office other than the president. Sahba Saravi, a 25-year-old law student recalls the political landscape when she was younger.

“When Obama first became president I was still in high school and didn’t really understand what was going on, but later I learned that the House blocked a lot of things that he wanted to do, and I find that that’s not happening in our current situation as much as we would like,” she says, adding that she pays more attention to national politics now. “If I can do my part in it then I’m going to.”

Saravi says she doesn’t identify with one party or the other, but today she voted for the Democrats on her ballot: Tim Kaine for Senator and Don McEachin for the 4th District.

Omi Eaddie, who’s 38 and works for a nonprofit, says she always votes in midterms, but “everything happening in the world right now” made her especially motivated to come out on this drizzly morning.

“People think smaller elections don’t matter,” Eaddie says. “But I’m even more inclined to vote now. Every little vote counts.”

As someone who’s made her career in the nonprofit sector and notes that national and state policies often impact her work, Eaddie says she wants “people in office that respect [her] as a working person.”

Derek Lewis, 49, voted for one Republican and one write-in.

“I think it’s our privilege and responsibility to vote,” he says. “There are a lot of people in the world who don’t have the opportunity to vote.”

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