RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Voters living in the district where Richmond’s proposed casino would go have cast the most early votes so far, per the city’s elections office.  

This year’s casino referendum – Richmond’s second chance – is one question all city voters will see on their ballot for the Nov. 7 elections. Some will vote for state legislative candidates, but in the overwhelmingly blue city, only one of the five Democrats running is facing an opponent.

If voters approve the project this time, the casino will be built in South Richmond (2001 Walmsley Boulevard and 4700 Trenton Avenue), in the city’s eighth district.

Richmond’s elections office shared Thursday that 5,242 votes have already been cast — most coming in the city’s eighth district, followed by Northside (the third district) and Southwest District (the fourth district):

  • District 8 – 928 early votes
  • District 3 – 846 early votes
  • District 4 – 648 early votes
  • District 9 – 562 early votes
  • District 6 – 498 early votes
  • District 7 – 475 early votes
  • District 1 – 458 early votes
  • District 5 – 452 early votes
  • District 2 – 375 early votes

Data posted by the Virginia Public Access Project shows 6,850 early votes in Richmond – including 1,867 mail-in ballots – as of Oct. 18.

VPAP’s analysis shows the city at 43.2 early voters per every 1,000 registered voters, below the state’s rate of 51.3. In 2021, the same analysis found Richmond with 171 early voters per every 1,000 registered voters and Virginia’s rate at 200.9.   

Comparing this year’s early turnout to 2021, when Richmond voters narrowly rejected the city’s casino dreams, is difficult because the city’s elections office does not have totals from the same point two years ago, per the registrar. (Also, the 2021 elections included the governor’s race battle between Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe.)

Developers of the proposed project – a team made up of Urban ONE and Churchill Downs — have poured more than $8 million into the pro-casino side, an unprecedented amount for a referendum campaign, spending just over $6 million in August and September, according to campaign finance records.  

On the other side, the anti-casino campaign “No Means No Casino” has raised more than $250,000 since late July, $100,000 of which came from philanthropists Barbara and Jim Ukrop.