Number of Democratic absentee voters skyrocket from 2016 to 2020

Local News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The number of voters requesting absentee ballots in our area is much higher than it was during the same election four years ago, almost three times as high in some areas.

According to the chair of the Lynchburg Democratic Committee, it’s mostly fueled by Democrats’ determination to try to get President Trump out of the White House.

She says the committee isn’t endorsing anyone before the primary, but she says with so many candidates still in the field, there’s a lot for Democrats are excited about.

“Ann Coulter tweeted something like, ‘Oh if you elect Warren, she’s going to be the woman with 17 plans nagging you to get stuff done,’ and the responses were like, ‘Yes, finally! That would be great,'” Said Nichole Sanders, the Committee Chair.

She explained why Democrats are fired up.

“I think that there’s a lot of anxiety surrounding our current president, and so I think people are really hoping to find a candidate that they can be excited about.”

We’re seeing early signs of that enthusiasm in the number of absentee voters.

“For this year, we have seen a little bit of an increase from the last democratic presidential primary in 2016,” said Lynchburg’s Director of Elections Christine Gibbons.

One of those absentee voters even came in to vote during our interview.

Four years ago 235, people in Lynchburg requested absentee ballots for the Democratic presidential primary.

This year, that number is 313, about a 33 percent increase.

This rise is not just happening in Lynchburg. Requests for absentee democratic ballots in Roanoke almost tripled since the last primary, from 187 in 2016 to 506 in 2020.

Both registrars say the number of registered voters has stayed about the same since 2016.

“I think that’s fantastic,” said Sanders. “I think it shows that Democrats are enthusiastic and we’re ready to do what it takes to get out the vote, and we’re ready to prepare for November.”

The registrars in both Roanoke and Lynchburg say there are still a lot of absentee ballots they have not gotten back yet, but they expect those to come rushing in before Tuesday.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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