Va. absentee voting sets record high

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama’s candidacy turned reliably red Virginia a shade of purple when he won the state in 2008 and 2012, no small thanks to absentee voters.

The record 511,000 absentee votes in Virginia helped Obama’s 2008 victory.

That record has been broken in 2016, as more than 537,000 absentee ballots have already been counted in Virginia this election cycle, with more to come.

“Seeing so many people participate, for us, is a great thing,” said Edgardo Cortes, Virginia Department of Elections commissioner. “We work very hard with our local registrars to make the process as easy as possible.”

Cortes said his staff has been busy for weeks. “[Absentee turnout] has been higher than usual from the beginning of the process,” he said.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Northern Virginia is leading the way. Absentee voting in Arlington County is up by more than 25 percent from 2008. But the biggest increase is in Prince William County, where more than 79 percent more absentee voters have filled out ballots this year compared with four years ago.

On the other hand, voting is down in four African-American strongholds — areas with an African-American population of more than 40 percent. Absentee voting is down by nearly 14 percent in Norfolk, more than 12 percent in Portsmouth and nearly 6 percent in Hampton and Newport News.

If you applied for an absentee ballot and have not sent it in, there’s still time. Ballots received by the time the polls close Tuesday night will be counted.

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