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Absentee voting turnout way up for midterm elections: ‘There is no comparison’

Posted at 10:48 PM, Oct 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-25 23:27:49-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Absentee voters are turning out in droves through mail-in ballots and in-person votes, so much so, that the registrar in Chesterfield County is hoping 20 more people will come forward and offer to work the election.

And, dotting the greater Richmond landscape are signs for incumbent Republican Congressman Dave Brat, and challenger Democrat Abigail Spanberger.

The pair face off in what, so far, appears to be one of the most energized midterm elections ever in the 7th Congressional District.

"Compared to other mid-term elections there is no comparison," the General Registrar and Director of Elections in Chesterfield County, Constance Tyler, said.

The 7th district encompasses a large part of Western Chesterfield, and Tyler said absentee turnout, so far, is unusually high.

Constance Tyler

"An average midterm election is like 4400 voters, and this mid-term we're already over 9500," Tyler said.

That means absentee turnout thus far in Chesterfield is more than twice the midterm election average, and despite their political differences, voters we talked to seem to have the same motivation for casting their ballots.

"I'm really tired of all the politics and politicians going after each other, I just want peace," Chesterfield Voter Gina Light said.

"The country is not going in the right direction because there is too much division, we've got to work together," Chesterfield voter Diana Jenkins said.

The same rings true all over the 7th District.

A large part of western Henrico, which leans Democrat, sits in the district, and the registrar there told us that, as of last week, absentee turnout is roughly three times what it was 4 years ago.

But also, in the district, parts of traditionally Republican-leaning Spotsylvania County, the registrar there told us absentee turnout is triple what it was in the last off year election.

Yet CBS 6 political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth said don't read too much into those numbers.

"My sense is what we have to say is that this shows how energized people are, but it really doesn't tell us that much about which way this election is leaning," Holsworth said.

Dr. Holsworth said part of the reason for the increased turnout is President Donald Trump because, whether you love him or hate him, he dominates the news cycle.

He also said the candidates in the 7th district have run a heated campaign, and both have worked extremely hard.