About Three in Four Virginia Voters Expected to Show Up on Election Day

Nov 7, 2016

The all-time high point for turnout in Virginia for modern elections was in 1992.

That’s when 85 percent of registered voters showed up on Election Day. Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says that’s because:

“There was a young, dynamic candidate named Bill Clinton who was one of the first Democrats nationally to have the idea that Virginia could be competitive and spent a lot of time, more time than anybody had spent in years in Virginia"

Clinton did not win Virginia that year, but all that campaigning ended up boosting turnout to record numbers. It’s been falling off since then. Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says lawmakers could increase turnout by allowing early voting or making Election Day a holiday. But…

Credit AP Photo / Lynne Sladky, File

“They’ve been elected under the status quo, and there is some concern I imagine for some of them that if they change the composition of the electorate too much they may not be incumbents all that much longer."

Election officials are expecting numbers somewhere between the 2008 turnout, when 75 percent, and the 2012, when turnout was 72 percent.