Absentee voting underway for Virginia primary election

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — You’ve seen the debates, campaign signs and political ads. Now, Virginians are starting to select who they want to represent them in the election.

For those who qualify and won’t be at the polls June 13, absentee voting is officially underway. During this primary election, voters are choosing who they want to represent their party on the November ballot.

There are 19 ways someone in Virginia can qualify to vote absentee — everything from being away at college, having a disability or being pregnant.

“A lot of people argue that it counts either way, and you might as well get it in the bank and do it early,” said political analyst Richard Meagher.

Meagher says new voters could come to play in the gubernatorial election — especially for democrats. Some could even be voting absentee.

“The dynamics were originally that Ralph Northam was going to cruise to the nomination,” said Meagher.

But he says Northam’s opponent, Tom Perriello, is “revving up the base.” He recently won Bernie Sanders’ support.

Meagher says the momentum could create new democratic voters.

“There’s this sense that maybe some reluctant, liberal, progressive type voters who wouldn’t have voted for an establishment democrat might come and vote for Perriello,” he said.

He says it’s still too soon to be sure whether fresh faces will hit the polls, but it’s something to watch for.

On the republican side, Meagher says there have been some waves — but that it doesn’t appear any of the three candidates is stirring up new voters.

“Corey Stewart is kind of energizing the base in a lot of ways, the kind of Tea Party folks. He’s been talking a lot about the confederacy lately,” he said. “But a lot of those folks would vote anyway.”

For them, Meagher says it’s about seeing how the traditional republican base sways.

The deadline to register to vote is May 22.

The last day to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you is June 6.

The primary is June 13.

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