Have You Already Voted? Candidates and Parties Have Your Name on a List

Oct 17, 2016

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the second presidential debate at Washington University, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, in St. Louis.
Credit Associated Press

Many voters are not waiting until Election Day to cast their ballots. Election officials across the state are reporting record amounts of in-person absentee voting.

Today is Election Day, so to speak. Across Virginia, tens of thousands of voters will be casting their ballot today.

And tomorrow. And every day until Election Day with in-person absentee voting.

In the last 20 years, the number of people voting before Election Day as increased about ten times. And Alexandria registrar Anna Lieder says election officials provide a daily list of the specific people who have voted to the parties.

“The parties would absolutely be able to see whether the ballot had been returned marked, whether it’s on the machine or whether it’s just still in an issued situation, which means we’ve sent it to the voter but they just haven’t returned it."

That allows candidates and parties to target people who may be considering their vote at the moment. Or get out the vote of people who haven’t voted yet. And Geoff Skelley at the University of Virginia Center for Politics say it also allows door knockers to avoid people who have already voted.

“They don’t have to waste any time or effort in contacting that individual, which allows them to perhaps spend more time on trying to turn out voters who might be considered more marginal in terms of their likelihood in turning out."