Posted: November 6, 2012

JMU freshman Devin Vaughan, 18, waits to vote at Spotswood Elementary School this morning. "I feel like an adult," she said after voting for the first time. (Photo by Nikki Fox)
Kaelyn McCarter, 3, watches her mother, Amy McCarter, vote this morning at Stone Spring Elementary School (Photo by Nikki Fox)
Frances Flannery of Harrisonburg casts her vote with her sons Sam, 10, and Harry, 6. (Photo by Nikki Fox)
A van helped JMU students get to the polls today. (Photo by Nikki Fox)
Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at Stone Spring Elementary School this morning. (Photo by Nikki Fox)
HARRISONBURG — Heavy voter turnout is being reported at several precincts in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County today as central Valley voters head to the polls to help elect a president, a new Congress, and in some cases, local council and school board members.

In Harrisonburg, voters will cast ballots for president, U.S. representative, U.S. senator and three of the eight candidates running for three seats on the City Council.

The polls opened at 6 and close at 7 tonight.

At Stone Spring Elementary School, more than 1,200 voters had cast ballots by 1 p.m. Smithland Elementary School and the Simms Center precincts also reported more than 1,200 ballots cast by 1, and at noon, officials at the Broadway precinct were reporting a near-record pace.

But officials at most precincts in the city are not seeing the hours-long lines and near frenzied pace of voting that occurred in 2008, when excitement over then-Sen. Barack Obama’s candidacy sent college students and other young people flocking to the polls in numbers much higher than usual.

But that’s not the only possible factor for shorter lines and waits at the polls in Harrisonburg this year. In response to 2008’s turnout, as well as the city’s normal growth, the registrar’s office added two polling precincts last year, for a total of seven citywide. That no doubt has helped alleviate the logjam seen at some of the precincts four years ago.

Virginia is one of a handful of battleground states that will likely decide whether Obama wins a second term or former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney reaches the White House.

Results should start trickling in by 8 p.m. tonight and the Daily News-Record will have complete coverage and results on www.dnronline.com throughout the night and into Wednesday morning.

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