By Carol Vaughn —
More Eastern Shore voters who want to cast a ballot in the June 23 Republican primary are asking for absentee ballots than in the last similar primary, according to an analysis by the non-profit Virginia Public Access Project.
Requests for mail-in ballots stand at 53 in Accomack County, compared to just 18 in the 2018 primary — that’s nearly three times more.
In Northampton, 46 voters have requested mail-in ballots, compared to 11 in 2018, more than four times more.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a significant factor in expanding voting by mail numbers across Virginia.
“Preliminary numbers show Republicans seeking to participate in a June 23 statewide primary to select a U.S. Senate nominee are taking advantage of the mail option in far greater numbers than they did in a similar election held two years ago,” according to VPAP.
To date, 29,285 Virginia voters requested absentee ballots for the primary, and 10,610 have returned their ballots.
That compares to the 2018 primary, when just 4,214 voters returned absentee ballots in the primary.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to a registered voter is Tuesday, June 16. The request must be received by the registrar by 5 p.m.
The deadline to register to vote in the primary has passed.
The Northampton Voter Registrar’s office will be open for in-person absentee voting on June 20, the last day to vote absentee in the election.
The Accomack County Voter Registrar’s office is open for in-person absentee voting Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., but is closed daily between 12:30 and 1 p.m.
For those voting in person, the polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 23. Social distancing protocol will be followed.
Vying to represent the Republican Party on the ballot in November for the U. S. Senate are Daniel M. Gade, Thomas A. Speciale II, and Alissa A. Baldwin.
Running for the party’s slot for the House of Representatives 2nd District seat are Ben Loyola Jr., Scott W. Taylor, and Jarome Bell.
Since Virginia does not register voters by party, any registered voter can choose to vote in the primary.
For more information, call the Accomack Voter Registrar at 757-787-2935 or the Northampton Voter Registrar at 757-678-0480.
Registered voters can apply for an absentee ballot online at the Virginia Department of Election website, https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/, or by requesting an application by phone, email, or fax from the local voter registration office.
All voters can use the 2A code for their reason to vote absentee.