Home 2021 Elections With 37 Days Until Virginia 2021 Election Day, Early Voting Seems Much...

With 37 Days Until Virginia 2021 Election Day, Early Voting Seems Much Slower Than Last Year; “Blue” CDs Waaaay Ahead in Mail Ballot Requests; “Red” and “Blue” CDs Pretty Close in Early/In-Person Voting

So far, there's been 283k total early voting (including mail ballot requests, in-person voting, mail ballots returned) this election; last year, 2.8 million voted early (and 4.5 million total).

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With 37 days until election day, where are we in terms of early voting so far? Early voting statistics through yesterday, September 25, are now available, so let’s take a look.

First of all, before we get to the statistics, it’s crucial to understand that comparing to 2017 early voting statistics can be HIGHLY misleading, given that in 2020, rules for early voting were drastically changed, from having to list an excuse to no-excuse early voting. Partly as a result, early voting *skyrocketed* about five-fold, from just 575k in the 2016 presidential election to 2.8 MILLION in the 2020 presidential election. Also, of course, we didn’t have a COVID-19 pandemic prior to 2020, meaning that there wasn’t that reason to avoid voting in person. Anyway, for both of those reasons, you should be super cautious in comparing early voting statistics from this year to the 2017 governor’s election (except, perhaps, relatively between jurisdictions).

As for comparing this year’s early voting statistics to last year’s, at least there it’s somewhat “apples-to-apples” in the sense that the same early voting rules apply, and also that there’s a COVID-19 pandemic pandemic, BUT…this is a governor’s election, not a presidential election; a high percentage of likely voters are vaccinated at this point; the urgency/panic of getting Trump out of office isn’t here this time around; and it’s hard to say how hard each party is pushing early voting in Virginia this year vs. last year. So even there, be VERY cautious about comparisons.

With those (major) caveats out of the way – and keeping them in mind – see below for some early voting statistics and highlights/takeaways.

  • We are currently at 283k total early voting for this election, including 62k in person and 200k mail ballot requests (of which 22k have been returned).
  • To put this in perspective, in the 2017 governor’s election, total voting – early and on election day – was about 2.8 million. And last year, about 2.8 million voted early, and 4.5 million total voted. So this year’s early voting represents just a small percentage (about 10%) of 2017 total voting and also of 2020 early voting (let alone 2020 TOTAL voting).
  • Breaking down early voting so far by congressional district shows “reddish-purple” VA01 leading in early/in-person voting, at 8,038, followed by “purple” VA07 (6,983), “blue” VA04 (6,761), “bright-red” VA06 (6,656), “red” VA05 (6,084), “blue” VA10 (5,979), “purple” VA02 (5,281), “deep-blue” VA08 (4,532), “bright-red” VA09 (4,086), “blue” VA11 (3,910), and “deep-blue” VA03 (3,654).  So, it looks like it’s pretty even between the “red” and “blue” CDs so far in terms of in-person voting so far, but there have been very few in-person votes cast (just 62k total, compared to 283k total early voting so far and 2.8 MILLION who voted early last year).
  • In terms of mail ballot requests so far by congressional district, it’s a very different story:deep-blue” VA08 (28,195), “blue” VA11 (26,133), “blue” VA10 (22,780), “purple” VA07 (20,427), “deep-blue” VA03 (16,796), “reddish-purple” VA01 (16,546), “red” VA05 (15,730), “blue” VA04 (15,635), “purple” VA02 (15,529), “bright-red” VA06 (12,788),  “bright-red” VA09 (8,973). So in terms of mail ballot requests, the “blue” CDs are definitely doing better than the “red” ones. Also note that there have been 200k mail ballot requests so far, which is FAR greater than the 62k who have voted in-person so far.
  • With those highlights from Virginia as a whole and by CD, see below for some breakdowns by jurisdiction…

  • So far, “deep-blue” Fairfax County has had 41,019 mail ballot requests and 5,536 voting in-person/early. For comparison purposes, last year, total early voting in Fairfax County was 413k (221k by mail, 192k in-person/early). So obviously we’re way behind that total this year in Fairfax County, but it’s still early, and the pace really picked up in Fairfax County as more early voting locations opened up and as we got closer to election day last year (plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc.).

  • So far, “blue” Loudoun County has had 10,289 mail ballot requests and 1,915 voting in-person/early. Last year, Loudoun County had total early voting of 156k, including 89k in-person/early and 67k by mail. So Loudoun’s well behind last year’s total early voting, but it’s still early of course (plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc.).

  • So far, “blue” Prince William County has had 10,567 mail ballot requests and 3,176 voting early/in-person. Last year, Prince William County had 170k total early voting, including 110k in person and 60k by mail. Obviously, well behind last year’s total early voting, but it’s still early (plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc.).

  • So far, deep-“blue” Arlington County has had 9,583 mail ballot requests and 1,754 voting in-person/early. Last year, Arlington had 108k total early voting, including 60k in-person/early and 48k by mail. So…a long way to go to hit last year’s total early voting, but it’s still early of course (plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc.).

  • So far, deep-“blue” Richmond City has seen total early voting of 5,719 (4,364 mail ballot requests, 1,354 in-person/early votes. Last year, Richmond City had 73k total early voting (50k in person, 23k by mail), so that’s waaayyy behind last year’s total, but it’s still early of course (plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc.).

  • So far, deep-“blue” Charlottesville has seen total early voting of 1,917 (1,546 mail ballot requests, 324 voting in-person/early, 47 voting by mail). Last year, Charlottesville had total early voting of 18k (10k in person, 7.6k by mail). So, Charlottesville’s far behind last year’s total early voting, but it’s still early of course (plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc.).

  • So far, “blue” Henrico County has had total early voting of 13,574 (10,234 mail ballot requests, 2,849 voting early/in-person, 491 voting by mail). Last year, Henrico County saw total early voting of 111k (69k in-person/early, 42k by mail). So Henrico’s far behind last year’s total early voting, but it’s still early of course (plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc.).

  • So far, “purple” Chesterfield County has had 14,626 total early voting (9,232 mail ballot requests, 3,115 in-person/early votes, 2,279 voting by mail). Last year, Chesterfield County had 145k total early voting (101k in-person/early, 44k by mail), so obviously it’s way behind last year’s total. But it’s still early, of course, plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc.

  • So far, “red” Hanover County has had 4,462 total early voting (2,684 mail ballot requests, 1,447 voting in-person/early, 331 voting by mail). Last year, Hanover had total early voting of 44k (32k in-person/early, 11.4k by mail). So obviously, Hanover County is way behind last year’s total early voting, but it’s still early (plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc.).

  • So far, deep-“blue” Norfolk has seen 6,295 total early voting (5,613 mail ballot requests, 681 voting in-person/early). Last year, Norfolk saw 59k vote early (37k in-person/early, 22k by mail). So Norfolk’s well behind last year’s total early voting, but of course it’s still early, plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc..

  • So far, “purple” Virginia Beach has had total early voting of 14,037 (10,449 mail ballot requests, 2,225 in-person/early, 1,363 voting by mail so far). Last year, Virginia Beach had total early voting of 130k (74k in-person/early, 56k by mail). So…Virginia Beach is way behind last year’s total, but it’s still early.

  • So far, “blue” Roanoke City has had 2,791 total early voting, including 1,526 mail ballot requests and 598 voting in-person/early. Last year, Roanoke City had 27,677 vote early, including 18k in-person/early and 9.7k by mail. So…Roanoke City’s way behind last year’s total early voting, but it’s still early of course (plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc.).

  • So far, bright-“red” Rockingham County has had 2,263 total early voting, including 1,457 mail ballot requests and 722 voting in-person/early. Last year, Rockingham County saw 18,351 vote early, including 12,990 in-person/early and 5,361 by mail. So…way behind last year’s total, but it’s still early of course (plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc.).

  • So far, bright-“red” Wise County has had total early voting of 474 (340 mail ballot requests and 81 voting in-person/early). Last year, Wise County had 9,261 total early voting, including 7,624 in-person/early and 1,637 by mail. So…bright-“red” Wise County is WAAAAY behind last year’s total early voting, but again, it’s still early (plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc.).

  • So far, bright-“red” Augusta County has had total early voting of 2,231 (1,253 mail ballot requests and 941 in-person/early votes). Last year, Augusta County had 21k total voting early, including 16k in person and 5k by mail. So…way behind last year’s total early voting, but it’s still early of course (plus, this is NOT a presidential election, most voters are vaccinated, people aren’t freaking about the U.S., Postal Service, etc.).

 

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