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'Seamless' early voting took this couple less than 5 minutes; Saturday is last day to cast early ballot

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Posted at 6:39 PM, Nov 02, 2022

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A steady stream of voters filed in and out of the Henrico County Registrar’s office on Wednesday during lunchtime, six days away from Election Day 2022 and four days away from the end of early, in-person voting in Virginia.

“The process was seamless, and it took us less than five minutes,” said Bea Mcleod.

“More and more people are voting and voting early, and that’s encouraging. I’ve seen more young people voting and that’s really encouraging,” said Mac Mcleod, her husband.

They joined the more than 26,000 Henrico voters who have already cast a ballot. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, 688,302 voters have already cast their ballot in the 2022 midterms as of November 1, which compares to 344,594 who voted early in the 2018 midterm elections.

Virginia lawmakers in recent years have made it easier for Virginians to vote early and leaders in both major parties have voiced their support for voting early in person.

“I think it's good for democracy, that more and more people feel comfortable voting, and that we give them the opportunity to do so,” said CBS 6 political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth. “When I was teaching political science, we spoke about how, because the United States had an Election Day, on a Tuesday rather than on a holiday or rather than having election weeks, our participation was down. What we now have is people have the opportunity to go out there and vote on their own timetable. And that's a great thing.”

In 2022, that increased early participation is under new legislative maps following redistricting which happens every ten years following the census.

The old 7th District, which is represented by Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D), was anchored in western Chesterfield and Henrico and considered highly competitive. The new maps “blew up” that district, as Holsworth put it, and the majority of voters in the Richmond-Metro are now in either the 1st or 4th congressional districts, which are not expected to be competitive based on recent voting trends.

“Maybe, in some instances, the lines are less gerrymandered than they used to be. But when you think about the community of interest that we had, because of that seventh district, that is gone. And that's not something that I find anything but very disappointing,” said Holsworth. “Virginia right now has seven Democrats in the House of Representatives, four Republicans. Four of the Democrats and four of the Republicans are perfectly safe. So, they have three races that have the potential to be competitive, two of which are very competitive.”

Those races include the new 7th District, now anchored in Prince William County, and the Piedmont. Rep. Spanberger is facing Yesli Vega (R); the 2nd District in Virginia Beach features Rep. Elaine Luria (D) and state Senator Jen Kiggans (R), a seat Holsworth said Republicans believe they will flip, and VA-10 featuring Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D) and Hung Can (R).

For Central Virginia voters, it could be a sleepy Election Night.

“We’re spectators to some degree,” Holsworth said. “Now, I want everybody to go out and vote, and I don't want anybody to stay home. If you live in the counties, you may have a big bond referendum. There are some city council races that are going on in part of our area. But by and large, this is a snooze fest compared to 2018 and 2020.”

For the Mcleods, redistricting nor overall voting patterns can keep them from the polls.

“It didn’t matter what district they put us in, we’re going to vote. They could put us in the zero district, we’ll be voting,” Mac said. “That underscores the need for those of us who were denied the opportunity to vote to come out here and take advantage of that opportunity. Because it wasn't given, it was fought for. And like I said, a lot of folks died so that folks could vote. And so, it's encouraging to us that not only African Americans but that all Americans vote.”

The final day to vote early in person is Saturday, November 5. Local registrars will be open throughout the Commonwealth that day and leading up to it. Many are setting up satellite locations so some voters don’t have to travel as far to cast their ballot.

For more information on early voting in your city or county, contact your local registrar’s office.

If you need more information on what’s on your ballot in Central Virginia, check out the CBS 6 Virginia Voter’s Guide.

🗳️Virginia Voter's Guide: Everything you need to know about the 2022 Election

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