Absentee voting up in southwest Virginia


WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - Candidates running for Virginia offices are hoping their campaigns have paid off with voters at the polls.

Mary Spears, who is 77, makes it a point to vote in every election. We asked her why she thinks it is so important. "To make sure the right people get in," Spears said.

Spears is not alone. Many of the voters we talked to say they cast every time the polls are open.

Samuel Matney said, "I think we should be able to elect our leaders, the people who guide us and everything. That's our freedom that we have."

We also found Tommy Castle right after he cast his ballot. "I think for the people to have a voice, you have to get out and vote. That is our voice," Castle said. "We have to pick the people that we think will do the best job for the country for our states and our local areas. We just need to get out and vote, everybody does."

Washington County, Virginia Director of Elections Derek Lyall said there are nearly 36,000 registered voters in the county.

Lyall said, "Typically in a gubernatorial election, we have approximately 38-40 percent turnout in Washington County."

More than 900 cast ballots in Washington County through absentee voting in person or by mail this year. That is up from the gubernatorial election four years ago when 632 absentee voters placed ballots in 2013.

Voter registrars in several other southwest Virginia counties confirmed they are seeing the same type of increases in absentee ballots as well.

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