The upcoming election is setting up to be one for the record books in Arlington.
We’re around the halfway point between the start of early voting in September and Election Day on Nov. 3. Yet as of last night, 39,202 mail-in and early ballots had already been cast in Arlington, according to election officials.
That already exceeds the 37,869 mail-in and early ballots during the entire 2016 presidential general election.
“We’ve never seen volumes this high,” Gretchen Reinemeyer, Arlington’s Director of Elections, told ARLnow this morning. The ballots cast so far represent about 24% of active voters, she noted.
“In 2016, we received a total of 10,922 Mail Ballots and 26,947 voted early,” Reinemeyer said. “As of last night, we have received 20,852 Mail Ballots and 18,350 have voted early.”
The total number of votes cast in Arlington in the 2016 presidential general election was 121,339, a record that seems likely to fall this year given interest in the race and population growth in the county.
Arlington opened a new early voting location this year, in the former Wells Fargo bank (2200 Clarendon Blvd) near county government headquarters in Courthouse, in order to accommodate social distancing and long outdoor lines — which came to fruition on the first day of early voting. Four community centers will also open for early voting next Saturday, Oct. 17.
We've had consistent lines in Virginia. Good that they are even even longer today. Fortunately, we're good at this. I am in Arlington, next to Fairfax. Much smaller county. We have lines too but they move quickly. One early voting location open now, more to come. Voted last week. pic.twitter.com/W7QxKg3Ckc
— Just Breathe (@estate_nova) September 30, 2020
Yesterday the county also unveiled a secure, 24-hour ballot drop-off box in Courthouse, for those who might be concerned about their ballots being lost or delayed in the mail.
24-hour secure ballot drop boxes have arrived in Arlington! The first is now up in Courthouse Plaza. The rest will be ready to go by tomorrow. See the full list of locations: https://t.co/Ck1Bk0tAP8
— Arlington Elections (@ArlingtonVotes) October 8, 2020
Reinemeyer said any voter who is not already registered should do so soon. Voter registration in Virginia for any given race closes 21 days before the election — in other words, this coming Tuesday for the 2020 general election.
“The most common question we’re getting is from voters who can’t get a DMV appointment,” Reinemeyer said. “You don’t need ID to register. They can drop their application in the mail or our drop box or stop by in person. We’re open Monday.”
Voters who don’t want to show up to the polls in person, for fear of COVID-19 or otherwise, can request mail-in ballots through Oct. 23.