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Democratic Primary: How Many Virginians Have Taken Advantage of Early Voting?

The Democratic primary is two weeks away, although voters can vote early right now if they want.

So far, about 100,000 voters have already cast their ballots for the Democratic primary according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Assuming the turnout for this election is roughly similar to the Democratic primary four years ago, that would be about 20% of voters who have already voted.

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says that might indicate a lack of enthusiasm.

"You would anticipate a bit more early voting given the looser rules that are in place now than you might be seeing here," says Farnsworth.

But David Ramadan at George Mason University's Schar School says it's still too early to tell if voters have a lack of enthusiasm or not.

"People still have time, and in a primary they're not worried about long lines on Election Day and there's a weekend coming and the campaigns don't kick in their GOTV efforts until 10 days before the election," explains Ramadan. "Therefore right after Memorial Day, we will see that week, that eight day period, until the June primary is when we are going to see the highest number of pre-voting."

Voters used to have to give election officials a reason for casting an in-person, absentee ballot. Now the laws have changed and voters no longer need an excuse. They can vote anytime they want between now and the primary on June 8th.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.