In-Person Absentee Voting on the Rise in Virginia. What Does that Mean?

Jun 2, 2017

Virginia does not have early voting. But more and more people are voting before election day using in-person absentee ballots. So what does that mean for politics in Virginia?

The last presidential election saw a sharp increase in the numbers of voters who cast their ballots before Election Day. So what does all that early voting mean for Virginia? Robert Denton at Virginia Tech says Democrats have been at the forefront using this strategy.

“It does seem more Democrats than Republicans tend to vote early. It certainly tends to be more true in the urban areas than rural areas, and certainly we can see the difference in NOVA.”

Northern Virginia has seen the largest numbers of people voting early — Prince William County, Manassas, Arlington. But Republican areas like Giles County and Culpeper saw the the largest increase last year.

Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says Republican candidates are doing a better job at turning out their voters than Democrats are doing turning out their voters.

“It looks to me like Republicans are doing better at turning out their voters in heavily Republican counties out across Virginia than Democrats are doing in heavily Democratic cities across Virginia.”

Ultimately, though, people still need an excuse to vote early. That makes Virginia dramatically different than place like Montana, where voters are encouraged to vote early before the campaign news cycle has concluded.  

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.