RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – More than 190,000 Virginians have voted in the state’s pivotal 2023 elections four weeks before Election Day.

An analysis of early voting data from the Virginia Public Access Project shows 191,779 ballots have been cast early – 105,506 in person and 86,273 absentee ballots by mail – as of Oct. 10.

With all 140 state legislative seats on the ballot and control of the Virginia General Assembly up for grabs, both parties have gotten behind efforts to boost early voter turnout this year.

Republicans are backing an initiative led by Gov. Glenn Youngkin to get more GOP voters to the polls early after previously supporting proposals to cut Virginia’s early voting window, and Democrats are pushing their own program.

How these plans will impact candidates won’t be clear until after the ballots are counted, but Rich Meagher, associate professor of political science at Randolph-Macon College, told 8News he thinks Gov. Youngkin made the right move by promoting an early voting initiative.  

“Glenn Youngkin, I think rightfully and very cleverly, has recognized that his party stands to lose ground if they don’t embrace the new rules the way Democrats have, and he’s trying to counter that,” Meagher said in a September interview. “I think that will be helpful for maybe expanding the number of people who vote, but the question is how many and whether the narrative from the national party and the narrative that’s sort of bubbling up in the national party from Trump supporters is too strong for even Youngkin’s messages to overcome.”

A review of VPAP’s data shows that most of the 10 House of Delegates and state Senate districts with the highest early voter numbers favor Republicans or are competitive.

(Early voting has been available at local general registrar’s offices since Sept. 22, but localities don’t offer the same number of satellite locations or openings. Also, some candidates are running unopposed.)

Using VPAP’s district data, which was updated on Oct. 11, here’s a look at some of the Richmond-area races with the highest early voter turnout so far:

Virginia Senate

DistrictCandidatesBallots castVPAP index
SD26Pam Garner (D) vs. Ryan McDougle (R)9,228Strong R
SD10John McGuire (Republican)7,162Strong R
SD12Natan McKenzie (D) vs. Glen Sturtevant (R)6,290Leans R
SD16Siobhan Dunnavant (R) vs. Schuyler VanValkenburg (D)5,997Leans D
SD13Lashrecse Aird (D) vs. Eric Ditri (R)5,947Leans D
SD15Hayden Fisher (R) vs. Ghazala Hashmi (D)5,597Strong D
(Data: Virginia Public Access Project)

Virginia House of Delegates

DistrictCandidatesBallots castVPAP index
HD82Kimberly Pope Adams (D) vs. Kim Taylor (R)3,615Competitive
HD83Mary Person (D) vs. Otto Wachsmann (R)3,091Leans R
HD60Keith P Braxton (D) vs. Scott Wyatt (R)2,809Strong R
HD57Susanna Gibson (D) vs. David Owen (R)2,793Competitive
HD72Bilal Raychouni (D) vs. Lee Ware (R)2,560Strong R
HD73Mark Earley Jr (R) vs. Herb Walke (D)2,469Leans R
HD58Riley Shaia (R) vs. Rodney Willett (D)2,424Leans D
(Data: Virginia Public Access Project)

A list of early voting locations can be found on the Virginia Department of Elections’ website.