Virginia election sees highest turnout in recent history, fueling Glenn Youngkin’s victory

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  • Glenn Youngkin, a wealthy businessman, turned the Virginia governorship under Republican control in a race that saw the highest turnout among state voters in recent history.
  • Voter turnout is higher in Virginia than in any other gubernatorial election since 1997.
  • Experts say the high turnout is a product of expanded early voting access to the Commonwealth and Youngkin and McAuliffe’s massive campaign war chests.

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Glenn Youngkin, a wealthy businessman, turned the Virginia governorship under Republican control in a race that saw the highest turnout among state voters in recent history.

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Voting closed at 7 pm on Tuesday.

According to the latest figures from the Virginia Department of Elections, just 55% of the Commonwealth’s 5.9 million voters cast their ballots on or before election day. That number could increase as the final votes in the race will be counted in the coming days.

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An estimated 99% of the votes are tabulated, according to NBC’s estimates, with Youngkin receiving 50.7% of the vote, while his Democratic rival, former Governor Terry McAuliffe, received 48.3% of the vote.

Turnout this year is higher than Virginia’s 2017 gubernatorial election, in which 47.6% of the state’s nearly 5.5 million voters cast their votes. This year’s turnout is also higher than any other gubernatorial election in the state since at least 1997.

Experts say the high turnout is a product of expanded early voting access to the Commonwealth and Youngkin and McAuliffe’s massive campaign war chests.

Early voting in Virginia hits record high. At least 1,137,656 voters submitted early ballots by the pre-Election Day voting deadline of October 30, according to data from Democratic data firm TargetSmart. This is almost six times the initial turnout of 2017.

So far, early voting in person or by mail is 35% of the 3.3 million voter turnout in this year’s gubernatorial election, according to NBC.

Virginia permanently revoked early voting options after temporarily implementing them in 2020 as COVID-19 cases spread across the United States

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who will succeed Youngkin, signed law into law in April 2020, which allowed registered Virginia voters to request absentee ballots without reason and vote 45 days before election day. These early voting options went into effect during the November presidential election later that year.

Prior to the 2020 election, early voting in Virginia lasted seven days and required an excuse.

Karen Hult, a professor of political science at Virginia Tech, said the prospect of expanded early voting contributed to the overall higher turnout in the election.

“One reason may be that voting rules have changed – no-fault absentee voting is now available and COVID-induced early voting in person has remained,” Holt said, noting that such voting options are more accessible to the people. Make it easy to cast your ballot.

According to Holt, the higher campaign spending of both Youngkin and McAuliffe has also increased voter turnout.

Virginia is one of ten states with no contribution limits on individual donors for political candidates. Richmond Times Dispatch. It is one of five states with no limits on contributions by corporations, and one of 18 states with no restrictions on the ability of state party committees to contribute funds.

Both candidates have taken advantage of Virginia’s lax campaign finance rules.

Youngkin, the former CEO of global investment firm Carlyle Group, has a $49 million campaign war, according to the latest figures from the Virginia Public Access Project. He entered Republican territory with an estimated personal net worth of $440 million, and invested $20 million of his wealth in his campaign.

Open Secrets reported last week that the soon-to-be governor has received more than $2 million from the Republican Party of Virginia and more than 10.5 million from the Republican Governors Association.

Meanwhile, McAuliffe’s campaign raised nearly $55 million.

The Democratic Party of Virginia contributed about $4.4 million to his campaign, according to figures from the Virginia Public Access Project. And the Democratic Governors Association has donated a cumulative $6.7 million to McAuliffe’s campaign as of last week, according to Open Secrets.

Funds from both his campaign war chests largely paid for an avalanche of TV and digital commercials aimed at mobilizing their partisan bases.

Youngkin’s campaign has spent The bulk of his political contribution on advertisingAccording to the Virginia Public Access Project, with over $21 million on TV and radio spots and over $9.7 million on digital ads. Similarly, McAuliffe’s campaign spent $31 million on TV and radio spots and $6.2 million on digital ads.

A record-breaking amount of money was spent by candidates, Holt said, noting that massive campaign funds “increased turnout.”

While votes are still being counted, Youngkin is set to succeed incumbent Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat who was unable to seek re-election this year because Virginia law bars governors from serving consecutive terms. Is. Youngkin will officially take over as the 74th Governor of the Commonwealth on January 15, 2022.

A former businessman who has never held elected office, Youngkin has sold himself as a political outsider, while rallying Commonwealth voters around hot-button issues like schools and distance from former President Donald Trump. Having sold himself.

He will head a state that President Joe Biden won by 10 points a year earlier, ending a string of electoral victories for Democrats in Virginia and signaling the road ahead for the party in the midterms of next year.

Asked about McAuliffe’s loss in Virginia, President Joe Biden told his party to move quickly to reach an agreement on his legislative agenda.

Asked about the Democrats’ troubles in the Commonwealth, the president said: “People want us to work.” “They want us to work. And so I’m working very hard to move forward with the Democratic Party and get my infrastructure bill and my Build Back Better bill passed.”

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