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If the race between Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, and Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate, is extremely close, those late ballots, coupled with an expected increase in provisional ballots, could be the deciding factor. A winner cannot be screened for up to one week.

“I think this is the future of everyone’s election plus we’ll be voting by mail as an option for the voters,” said Scott O. Konopasek, Chief Electoral Officer for Fairfax County, the largest county in Virginia. “If there are close races, we won’t know until after the Friday following the election.”

While the advance in early voting exceeded the anticipated turnout in 2016, this year’s numbers have not kept pace with 2020, in part because the Virginia election is a race off year. Yet, based on current trends in early voting, the overall turnout could reach around 2.6 million, roughly at the level of the 2017 election, according to Michael McDonald, a professor of politics at the University of Florida who studies voting. .

Early vote totals in Virginia so far reflect more of a change in behavior than an increase in voter turnout, as 90% of early voters in Virginia this year also voted at the start of the 2020 election, according to TargetSmart, a democratic political data society.

“Some people didn’t know they could mail-in or vote in early 2020 because it was the first election where this law was changed, and now they just like to do it,” McDonald said.

Partisan models show Democrats continue to overtake Republicans at a significant rate for early voting. But one of the voting blocks that has been a concern for the McAuliffe campaign has been the youth vote.

nytimes Gt

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