RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond’s elections chief said in late September that “Virginia has clearly embraced no excuse voting,” when data showed that a little more than 200,000 people in the commonwealth had voted early in person and nearly a million had requested an absentee ballot.
Early voting in Virginia has surged since Sept. 18, the first day it was available, after a new law permitting no-excuse absentee voting went into effect in July. As of Nov. 1, more than 2.7 million Virginians have already voted in this year’s election, a figure that represents more than 68 percent of the 3,984,631 total votes counted in Virginia in the 2016 election.
Virginia’s Department of Elections has reported more than 1.5 million people have voted early in person and nearly 900,000 have returned their mail-in ballots. The total number of absentee ballots cast in Virginia four years ago didn’t eclipse 600,000.
Early voting numbers have hit unprecedented levels across the country, with 95,027,832 Americans already voting in the 2020 Election, according to the U.S. Elections Project, a website tracking early turnout figures in each state.
These figures indicate how eager voters in the country are to return their ballot early and the enthusiasm for this election season.
The site also tracks total votes by party registration — data that some states but not Virginia provides. The U.S. Elections Project shows that 21,233,585 early voters are registered Democrats, 14,218,201 registered as Republicans and 11,059,461 with no party affiliation.
While these numbers may reflect an advantage for Democrats across the country, it cannot guarantee one. Individuals who backed a particular political party in the past don’t necessarily vote for the same party each election.
The nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project is also tracking early voting totals in the commonwealth, with a graph showing the shift in early voting from 2016 to 2020 by congressional districts. Each district has seen a noticeable spike, with four having 200,000 more early voters than in the last presidential election.
In Virginia’s 7th Congressional District race, where Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and state Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) are facing off, 238,585 more people have voted early compared to 2016. All of Virginia’s congressional districts have seen six-figure increases.
In Henrico, a key county in the race for the 7th District, 105,791 residents have either voted early or requested an absentee ballot. That’s more than six times the 2016 total. According to the county’s registrar’s office, as of Oct. 28, 60,227 residents have voted early in person, with 40,894 from the 7th District and 19,333 from Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.
In the city of Richmond, where residents are voting for mayor and in nine City Council races, 70,263 people have either voted early or requested an absentee ballot. In 2016, that total was less than 7,000.
This story will be updated daily. Stay with 8News for updates.
2020 ELECTION COVERAGE
- President Donald Trump’s legal team suffered yet another defeat in court Friday as a federal appeals court in Philadelphia roundly rejected the campaign's latest effort to challenge the state’s election results.
- The Biden-Harris ticket has 80,033,996 votes with as many more still to tally, according to a running count by the non-partisan Cook Report. Each additional vote adds to the highest general election total in history.
- Trump ally, former NJ governor Chris Christie: president's election fraud claims are a 'national embarrassment'In an interview on Sunday, former New Jersey Governor and frequent Trump aide Christie condemned the Trump team's challenges against the victory of president-elect Joe Biden as "a national embarrassment."
- President Donald Trump’s campaign has requested a recount of votes in the Georgia presidential race, a day after state officials certified results showing Democrat Joe Biden won the state.
- Georgia’s top elections official on Friday certified results showing Democrat Joe Biden won the presidential race in the state after a hand tally stemming from a mandatory audit affirmed the Democrat’s lead over Republican President Donald Trump.
- Fighting to challenge an election he lost to President-elect Joe Biden, Trump has launched a barrage of lawsuits across the country. Top Republicans have stood behind him and said they will wait for those cases to be resolved before officially recognizing the winner, a standard that has no modern precedent.
- WILMINGTON, Del. (NEXSTAR/AP)- President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris held a news conference Thursday afternoon after meeting with the National Governor Association's leadership team. The National Governor Association's leadership team is comprised of five Republicans and four Democrats. According to the Associated Press, all of the Democrats and a majority of the Republicans […]
- Democratic Party officials in Virginia sent a letter Thursday to Richmond's Electoral Board calling for the resignation of the city's general registrar, J. Kirk Showalter, or for the board to dismiss Showalter over her handling of the 2020 election.
- A divide has begun to emerge among Democrats between the progressive and moderate wings of the party, stemming from a disappointing election performance.
- SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — When Gov. Brian Kemp won election two years ago, he pushed back forcefully against an outcry from Democrats who accused him of suppressing voter turnout to improve his odds of winning. “Look, we have laws on the books that prevent elections from being stolen from anyone,” Kemp, who oversaw that election […]