Officials failed to forecast the record turnout at polls on Tuesday. Woodbridge’s River Oaks voting precinct has more than 4,000 active registered voters assigned to it and saw a 64 percent voter turnout rate Tuesday. Voters here waited in long lines, and in line before the polls closed at 7 p.m. waited for up to four hours to cast their votes. President Barack Obama won handily over Mitt Romney with 84 percent of the vote at this precinct. Democrats also turned out in droves to other precincts in eastern Prince William County like Lynn in Woodbridge, and Godwin and Dale in Dale City.
The long lines – which were common across the country – initially sparked criticism during final voting hours on Tuesday from Democrats who said voters were being suppressed because of the lack of the adequate number voting machines.
Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi blamed County Executive Melissa Peacor for not funding a request for an additional $350,000 for the county’s Electoral Board.
While mentions of the $350,000 show up in Electoral Board meeting minutes dating back to Oct. 2011, the full amount of money was never formally requested. If it had been, the minutes show the funds would have went to pay for overtime for election staff, extra training for poll workers, and to fund seasonal staff at the elections office — not for additional voting machines.
County officials did fund a request for $46,000 for voter software to be used on voting machines, and statement released last week denounced any claim the election office went unfunded.
“Uproar? Of course there is uproar. If you had to stand in line for as long as many voters did you would be mad, too,” said Prince William Electoral Board Secretary Guy Anthony Guiffre. “The buck stops with the Electoral Board. We are supposed to make the analysis and the analysis failed.”