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With 16 Days to Go Until Virginia’s 11/5 Elections, Where Are We in Terms of Absentee Ballots?

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With just 16 days until Virginia’s elections on November 5th, where are we right now in terms of absentee balloting? Here are a few graphics, courtesy of the State Board of Elections and VPAP. A few takeaways:

  • As of the end of this past week, Virginia had 83,779 absentee ballot applications, with 35,882 returned so far. This is up from 67,809 absentee applications and 25,564 returned as of last Tuesday.
  • For comparison purposes, note that in 2017, a gubernatorial election and the first statewide election since Trump took office, Virginia saw a total of 182,256 total absentee ballots cast, with final turnout of 47.6%.
  • For a more “apples-to-apples” comparison, i2015, the last “off/odd” election year in Virginia, Virginia had a total of 62,605 absentee ballots completed/returned. Which means that we’re now almost halfway to that total, with a bit over two weeks until election day.
  • So far, the top House of Delegates districts in terms of absentee ballots returned are HD51 (Del. Haya Ayala vs. Republican Rich Anderson); HD3 (Del. Will Morefield – uncontested); HD13 (Del. Danica Roem vs. Republican Kelly McGinn); and HD40 (Democrat Dan Helmer vs. Republican Del. Tim Hugo). Also high on this list are HD66 (Democrat Sheila Bynum-Coleman vs. Speaker Kirk Cox); HD100 (Democrat Phil Hernandez vs. Del. Rob Bloxom); HD31 (Del. Elizabeth Guzman vs. Republican DJ Jordan); and HD50 (Del. Lee Carter vs. Republican Ian Lovejoy).
  • On the State Senate side, so far the top districts in terms of absentee ballots returned are SD38 (Del. Ben Chafin vs. independent George McCall); SD11 (Sen. Amanda Chase vs. Democrat Amanda Pohl); SD29 (Sen. Jeremy McPike – uncontested); SD28 (Sen. Richard Stuart vs. Democrat Qasim Rashid); SD13 (Democrat John Bell vs. Republican Geary Higgins); SD12 (Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant vs. Democrat Debra Rodman); SD17 (Sen. Bryce Reeves vs. Democrat Amy Laufer); SD6 (Sen. Lynwood Lewis vs. Republican Elizabeth Lankford); SD25 (Sen. Creigh Deeds vs. independent Elliott Harding); etc.
  • Does anyone see a clear geographic pattern here? I don’t. In general, though, it seems like some of the most hotly contested elections also have the highest absentee ballot activity, which doesn’t seem surprising at all. On the other hand, there are a few aberrations, like the top-tier races in  SD7 (Democrat Cheryl Turpin vs. Republican Jen Kiggans) and SD8 (Sen. Bill DeSteph vs. Democrat Missy Cotter Smasal), which rank towards the bottom for whatever reason(s). Same thing with HD94 (Democrat Shelly Simonds vs. Del. David Yancey, which was determined in 2017 by a drawing from a bowl). Weird.