NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Consider this, in the 2018 midterm election, just over 15,000 cast votes absentee or had accepted reasons to vote early like out of town on Election Day.
In 2020, it changed. You didn’t need an excuse to vote early; just come down and vote. Now, the total voting early in Virginia Beach so far is over 27,000 nearly double the 2018 number, and we are still 8 days from November 5 when early voting ends.
Across Virginia, the Virginia Public Access Project found just under 510,000 people have already voted compared to more restricted early voting in 2018 when 345,000 voted in the entire election cycle.
Christine Lewis is the newly appointed Virginia Beach Voter registrar; her first election in that position.
“People are coming out because either they like or dislike what the president is doing, so it’s a higher number of turn out,” said Lewis. “The gubernatorial race used to be the second biggest, now it’s the midterms.”
10 On Your Side spent Friday morning with Lewis who showed a QR code sign that is a concern.
“First, signs are covered under freedom of speech so there is nothing we can do about the sign.”
When the QR code comes in, you think you are getting information about the new 10 districts in Virginia Beach and a listing of all candidates, but the QR code takes you to a listing of preferred candidates to vote for.
Resident David Evans from Kempsville has voted early since 2020
“There were no surprises when I came down to vote,” said Evans. “It is really easy, and there were no complications. It was quick.”
Emily Welch voted early to make sure her voice is heard.
“I’m voting because everything is so political that do not need to be, and the basics of making sure our country is running well.”
It should be noted that 16% of early voting is curbside voting, so if you are 65 and over or if you have a disability, Lewis stated that residents can vote in their car.
“They call and we bring the ballot out and then we take it in for them.”
Lewis says the midterm elections have become the second most popular election behind the presidential election.