Lynchburg sees astronomical rise in absentee voting

Coronavirus

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The City of Lynchburg is seeing staggering early voting numbers.

As of Tuesday morning, 3,327 Lynchburg voters turned in an absentee ballot. To put that into perspective, that is almost 28 times higher than the number of absentee voters in the same local election four years ago. Back then, only 121 voters turned in an absentee ballot.

The May 2020 local election is also the first time that, effectively, Virginia has had no-excuse absentee voting, because all voters were encouraged to vote absentee by selecting the excuse for illness or disability and avoid in-person voting.

“We’re happy that the voters listened to us asking them,” said Christine Gibbons, Lynchburg’s Director of Elections, “to encourage them to vote by mail for this election, to make it safe for the voters.”

Absentee voting isn’t just high compared to local elections in other years. Presidential elections typically have the highest voter turnout. In the 2016 presidential election, Lynchburg had about 2,523 absentee voters, a lot less than the 3,327 absentee voters in the May 2020 local election.

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