Virginia voters express privacy concerns ahead of election

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WUSA9 received phone calls on Tuesday morning from people are concerned about some voting locations in Northern Virginia.

Some voters said some of the tables to fill out ballots did not have privacy screens or partitions to hide their choices from others.

Election officials said voters were not required to use one of the open tables.

Instead, those areas were only for voters who were comfortable using the open space.

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Loudoun County election officials told WUSA9 they sent out about 600 of the private voting booths across the county.

“For the most part, most people not. But there are some,” Gwen Taylor-Trent, a Loudoun County Polling Officer, replied when asked if there were privacy concerns. “We are all different. We all have our individual privacy concerns. So, we’ve had a couple. People would just look around carefully to see where they want to vote. We even have an extra table by itself so that if a couple people come in and they’re sitting too close to each other they can still have another space.”

Similar concerns were expressed in Fairfax County. 

People who used one location told us they were worried about how close poll workers were standing to them when they submitted their final ballots into the machine. 

Several other voters did not think it was a big deal.

“I can’t imagine why it would make a big difference to someone if the folks just making sure that the machine is reading and properly inserting your vote — the machine is reading it so what you took the time to do gets actually counted,” Theresa Coutu said.

Whether it be at an open table or at one of these private booths, people said it is important for citizens to just exercise their right to vote and that they feel comfortable doing it.

Officials in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties said each voting location has private voting booths or partitions.

It is up to the voters to decide whether or not they want to use them.

You always have the option to wait.