Absentee ballot requests for May election are 19x higher than 4 years ago

Coronavirus

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Absentee voting is at record levels in Lynchburg for the local election in May.

According to Lynchburg’s Director of Elections Christine Gibbons, her office has mailed out 2,291 absentee ballots as of Tuesday morning. So far, 920 have been returned.

In the same election four years ago, 121 total absentee ballots were returned, putting the office on track to potentially receive about 19 times as many absentee ballots for this election.

Though Gov. Ralph Northam asked the General Assembly to move the May elections to November due to the virus, it is unclear if the measure will pass.

Gibbons urges voters to apply to vote absentee before the April 28 deadline, in case the election date stays in place.

“I don’t want our voters to miss that deadline,” said Gibbons. “I want them to choose to be safe, and voting by mail, right now, I think is the safest way for our voters to vote.”

Local May elections usually see relatively low voter turnout, but Gibbons said those absentee numbers are about the same as what her office sees in presidential elections.

Because of the pandemic, all voters in Virginia can choose to vote absentee for this election by filling out an application and selecting the illness or disability excuse.

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