RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As Virginians head to the polls, early data on absentee and early voting show that enthusiasm for those options is still strong — but it’s unclear whether it will translate to higher turnout.
During an Election Day briefing around noon, Election Commissioner Susan Beales said the number of Virginians registered to vote hit another record this year, with over 6 million registered before election day.
But for the first time, the final number of registered voters isn’t actually known before Election Day. That’s because, for the first time, Virginia will voters the chance to register at their polling place.
Voter turnout has been on a slightly upward trend since 2010, with the high point coming in 2020 when 75% of registered voters marked their ballots. That was an increase of 3% over the previous presidential election, and 2021 likewise saw an 8% increase over the previous gubernatorial race.
Both of those races were conducted under new voting rules that allowed many more Virginians to vote early or by mail. And though fewer Virginians used absentee ballots this year than during the height of the pandemic, the numbers were still much higher than pre-pandemic.