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In Northwest, the Georgetown Library recorded fewer than 100 votes in the opening four hours, with only a handful of signs lining the R Street sidewalk to indicate Tuesday was an election.

St. Thomas’ Episcopal Parish in Northwest had a bit more traffic, with 130 voters coming through its Church Street doors by 11:15 a.m.

“We just had a board rep come by, and he said we were doing way better than some of the neighboring precincts,” precinct captain Bob Cardis said.

The 28-year veteran election volunteer said for a special election “it’s a little busier than we were expecting.”

Tuesday night results are considered unofficial until absentee, provisional and curbside ballots, for seniors and the disabled, are counted in the next 10 days, Ms. McLaughlin said. Those ballots can account for as much as 10 percent to 15 percent of the vote, potentially leaving the outcome up in the air.

Republican Patrick Mara, who garnered an endorsement form The Washington Post, as well as Democrats Bryan Weaver and Joshua Lopez, had come also on strong in ambitious campaigns.

Democrats Tom Brown and Dorothy Douglas, independent Arkan Haile and Statehood Green Party candidate Alan Page were also on the ballot.

Mary Braden, who voted at St. Thomas Episcopal, said she’s “very unhappy with the D.C. Council” and wants an independent thinker who will not go with the herd.

“I voted for someone really obscure, who probably will not win,” Ms. Braden said. “I’m voting today because I always do. I feel it’s important, even if it doesn’t seem important.”