Election Coverage GXX

Over 100,000 Virginians have already cast their ballots early for November's general election, according to the Virginia Department of Elections yesterday.

"This year is definitely different from what we've ever seen before," Pittsylvania County Director of Elections Kelly Keesee told the Star-Tribune today.

As of Sept. 1, there were 881 registered voters in Chatham.

"We are at 1,479 in-person early voters," Keesee said. "Virginia law did change to allow early voting for the first time in the state. Prior to this November, folks have always needed a valid excuse to vote absentee."

"Early voting is more accessible now," she added.

Pittsylvania County's 45-day absentee voting total was 3,354 in 2008, which until now was a record figure.

In 2012, the total votes in-person and by mail equaled 2,746. The total in 2016 was 2,930.

"As of the close of our first day, the total was 3,345, which was a few away from our largest turnout we've ever seen," Keesee said. "But that was the full, complete number."

The county is are averaging about 100 new requests for absentee ballots per day, Keesee said. Yesterday exceeded that average.

"As of this morning, not including today's request, we had 3,300 requests to vote by mail," Keesee said. "One of the things that we are seeing is that a lot of folks who requested a ballot by mail are now showing up to vote in person. We want to remind folks that the best way to do that is to wait until you get your ballot in the mail, then surrender that at a satellite center or on Election Day."

Nearly 900,000 have requested absentee ballots in Virginia, election officials reported.

Last year, 144,360 voted absentee in Virginia. In 2016, 566,948 voted absentee. State projections will make this a record year by a considerable margin.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 23 at 5 p.m.

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