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Thanks to Virginia's long early voting period, polls are already open in Virginia primaries


Virginia's congressional primary is not until June. But, the polls are already open.

Virginia has 45 days of early voting. That's the longest election season in the country, and that means polls are already open for congressional primaries across Virginia.

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says early voting is especially useful for a summertime primary.

"Because people travel. They go on vacations. They go to graduations and weddings and can schedule it," Farnsworth says. "But, it also makes it easy to procrastinate."

And here's a reason to avoid procrastinating. All those calls and text messages you’re about to start getting? Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says campaigns have sophisticated data collection, and they know who has already voted and who hasn't.

"If you're tired of hearing from campaigns and you don't want to hear from them, go vote now," Kidd explains. "And they'll put you on the already voted list and you'll stop hearing from them."

Click here for the complete list of primaries from the Virginia Dept. of Elections

Republicans often choose their candidates in conventions rather than primaries, and three conventions are happening May 21st. In the two most competitive races, though, Republicans will choose their candidate in a primary to go up against Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria. The primary is June 21st.

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.