Republicans pray for a reversal of early voting in Virginia

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Counties where Youngkin won with at least 60 percent of the two-party vote two years ago account for 34 percent of early in-person voting so far this year, compared to 29 percent of overall early voting in those same counties. in 2021. .

The trends are less clear with absentee voting, which could reflect several factors, including continued Republican skepticism about voting by mail, which Trump has specifically noted, as well as Democrats’ greater use of the permanent absentee voting list. state.

Areas that strongly favored the Republican governor in 2021 account for a slightly higher share of absentee ballots returned as of Monday compared to two years ago, but the increase is less notable. Statewide, two-thirds of voters who have cast early ballots, either in person or absentee, are 60 or older, according to the state’s early voter file.

Democrats have seen early benefits from their rivals’ massive investment.

Tom Bonier, senior adviser at data firm TargetSmart, said there has been “some limited level of success, in the sense that you’re seeing a higher proportion of Republicans voting before Election Day than we saw last year.” or the one we saw in 2021.”

“We saw Republicans recognize nationally that this was a big problem for them, that their voters were not taking advantage of the tactical opportunity,” he said at a briefing hosted by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee last week.

Youngkin’s push has also included significant outreach to conservative media. In appearances on Fox News and other platforms, Youngkin relentlessly promotes his early voting effort, and conservative hosts often join in as cheerleaders.

Earlier this month, Fox News host Sean Hannity He gave the floor to Youngkin to talk about early voting.

The host said it is not the “system we want,” but “if Republicans start Election Day with hundreds of thousands of votes, they are greatly reducing their chances of winning this election. “I want every Republican in the country to hear this message.”

Youngkin’s team says voters have responded. After an appearance on a show like Hannity’s, visits to Youngkin’s early voting portal double or more, attendees said, and actual requests for mail-in ballots also increase significantly.

However, the impact of that success remains to be seen. Bonier claimed that the vast majority of Republicans who voted early were already reliable Republican voters and that the party was not generating new, infrequent voters.

Other efforts to pressure Republicans to vote early — though often less robust than Youngkin’s — may offer warning signs.

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