The Wash

Early Voting reeling in more voters

Democrats at an advantage with Republicans pushing to increase numbers.

Sheila Kelly, a Leesburg grandmother of seven, was happy to vote well before this Tuesday’s election. She said early voting in person was not only an opportunity to get out of the house, but it felt extra rewarding because she had to mail in her ballot in the last election due to mobility issues.  

 “I wanted to come out on a beautiful day to do my civic duty,” said Kelly. 

Kelly is just one of more than 707,000 voters who had already cast their ballot in advance of November 7. 

Though it is not a presidential election, this off-year election is one that will eventually determine who gets to control of both the Virginia legislative chambers. 

Cheryl James-Postner voted in person Saturday and loves the option of early voting. 

 “It is wonderful for people who have work or other engagements on the day to be able to vote early and get it done,” said Postner. 

According to the latest estimates of  Virginia Public Access Projects, Democrats have a huge advantage in early voting numbers at 53%, with Republicans coming in at 41%.

 “Early voting has become more and more popular every year and we expect that to continue to increase”, said Richard Keech, the Deputy Director of Elections in Loudoun County.

Keech also said, this year Virginia is running slightly below than last year’s congressional election but doing better than most other recent off-year voting early participation. He explained that in 2019 “ no-excuse voting” started in Virginia. With that came elections centers open weeks in advance of election day and voters getting wide access to mail-in ballots. 

“One of the things we’re working out now is how to predict voter behavior in the new normal,” said Keech.  

Governor Glenn Youngkin has been urging Republicans to vote early. On Labor Day, he  launched a bus tour that traveled the state to push for early voting. His office did not respond to The Wash for comment, but his social media feeds have been recommending Republicans start catching up with Democrats in early voting numbers. 


Anthony Spain and his son Michael Spain voted on the last day of early voting on Saturday. He said he didn’t agree with many of Youngkin’s political views, but on this topic, he agreed.

“Early voting makes sense,” Spain told the Wash. “We should be promoting votes in general by making it easier to vote.”  

Younkin’s stand on early voting is not popular with favored Republican presidential candidate  former President, Donald Trump. The former president at a rally in New Hampshire recently told his supporters, “You don’t have to vote, don’t worry about voting.The voting, we got plenty of votes, you gotta watch.” 

An estimate by VPAP shows more than 2 percent increase compared to last year in early voting by Republicans. This estimation is based on the data that is available six days before the election. Republican mail votes have also increased according to the same website.

 Emanuelle and Marilyn Revelous from Arlington went to Clarendon precinct for a tour. They had mailed their vote 3 weeks before the election day.

Strong believers of national vote by mail, the Revelous couple said, “All the evidence is clear that voter turnout increases dramatically.”   





Sanjana Feroz

Sanjana has worked as a international multimedia journalist at Voice of America. She has covered press freedom, refugee and women issues while working at VOA. Currently she is working at The National Desk owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group. She produces the interview segment of the night show inviting guests to talk about current international and natiaonal issues.

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