Virginians wait up to four hours to cast early voting ballots
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Northern Virginia residents waited in line to vote for up to four hours on Friday, the first day to cast ballots early in the state.

Officials said in Fairfax County, a heavily Democratic area and the state’s largest jurisdiction, the wait was four hours by midday, The Washington Post reported. By noon, approximately 300 people had already cast their ballots as at least 300 others waited to do the same. 

Voters in the state can submit ballots in person through Oct. 31, or on Election Day, Nov. 3. Several satellite locations are set to open up in Fairfax next month.

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Some voters told the Post that casting their ballot on the first day was a symbol. 

“You’ve got to vote on the first day and make a statement that we can’t put up with this any more than we have to,” Ashok Viswanath, who planned to vote for Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenKaty Perry and her 'Firework' close out inauguration TV special Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Tom Hanks: After years of 'troubling rancor,' Inauguration Day 'is about witnessing the permanence of our American ideal' MORE, told the outlet. 

Kate Hanley, secretary of the Fairfax County board of elections, told the Post that officials would be adding another room with ballot machines to speed up the line of voters. 

“We knew it would be busy but didn’t expect it would be quite this busy,” Hanley said. “Typically, we expect this kind of turnout on the last day of absentee in-person voting. Not on the first day.” 

In Loudoun County, which is also near Washington, D.C., there was a line of approximately 200 people outside of the office of elections at 8:30 a.m.

Most jurisdictions across the state only opened a few voting sites on the first day of early voting. The state also began sending out absentee ballots on Friday. 

Virginia residents are voting on a slate of competitive races, including between Biden and President TrumpDonald TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds MORE. Democratic Reps. Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaChamber-endorsed Dems struggle on election night Overnight Defense: How members of the Armed Services committees fared in Tuesday's elections | Military ballots among those uncounted in too-close-to-call presidential race | Ninth US service member killed by COVID-19 Luria holds onto Virginia House seat MORE and Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis Spanberger'I saw my life flash before my eyes': An oral history of the Capitol attack Chamber of Commerce slams GOP effort to challenge Biden's win Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote MORE are both defending the seats that they flipped during the 2018 midterms. The Cook Political Report has rated both races a toss-up.

In the state’s typically red 5th District, currently represented by Denver RigglemanDenver RigglemanFormer Republican congressman: 'Impeachment is necessary' Outgoing GOP congressman criticizes Hawley for fundraising off Electoral College challenge Virginia county Republicans condemn GOP congressman for considering vote for Biden MORE (R), The Cook Political Report on Friday moved the race from “leans Republican” to a toss-up.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a measure into law earlier this year allowing Virginia residents to vote absentee in person or by mail without having to provide an excuse. He also signed legislation allowing drop boxes at local registrars so that voters can personally deliver their ballots.