RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — New data shows Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s push to encourage Republican voters to cast their ballot before Election Day is working.
According to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), more Republicans are voting early ahead of this year’s General Assembly elections than in years past.
According to VPAP, Republican voters are responsible for 38.7% of the in-person, early voting across the state. That’s an 8% increase compared to the same time in 2021 — the last time Virginia held statewide elections.
“The fact that there is even some measurable uptick suggests that he is making some inroads, that this effort is successful,” said Rich Meagher, Professor of Political Science at Randolph-Macon College.
On absentee mail-in ballots, Republicans have seen a more modest 4% increase compared to 2021. Meagher says that may have to do with some high-profile Republicans’ opposition to mail-in voting.
“Youngkin is wise to focus on early voting as opposed to early absentee voting,” Meagher said. “I think that that is something that Republican voters are going to be more comfortable with.”
It’s important to note that the data is an estimate because Virginians don’t register to vote by political party.
Meanwhile, Meagher says the latest data shouldn’t concern Democrats. He says the real test for Republicans will be whether their early voting initiative turns out new voters, not just those who previously voted on Election Day.
“I think the evaluation of whether it’s a success or not, we will decide in November, when we see exactly how much of an effect it had on turnout,” Meagher explained.
The last day of in-person, early voting in Virginia is November 4th. Absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day.