HARRISONBURG — The last time Rockingham County saw an election, voter turnout hit a one-digit percentage. With less than 50 days to go until the election in November where voters will select their next General Assembly representatives, voter registration is increasing.
As of Friday, Rockingham County has 50,676 registered voters, according to Jennifer Frederick, deputy director of elections with the county. That number has seen a slight increase since the June Primary where there were 50,636 registered voters.
Harrisonburg is also seeing the same pattern, reaching 25,178 registered voters as of Friday, according to Debbie Logan, director of elections for the city. During the June Primary, voter registration for the city was more than 24,800, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.
Frederick said the number of registered voters typically increases as an election nears, along with voter turnout.
“The general election in 2018 for the U.S. Senate and House had a 63% turnout rate,” Frederick said in a previous interview with the Daily News-Record. “The presidential election is always the highest at 75%, followed by the gubernatorial election at roughly 70%.”
The trend continues into the city as its population increases with students attending local universities and colleges, as well as those old enough to vote in high school.
“Last year we had more than 26,000 registered voters and we are close to that now,” Logan said.
Virginia as a whole has seen an increase in voter registration with an increase of 392,428 registered voters, or 7.6%, between August 2015 and August 2019, according to data collected by Virginia Capital News Service.
Rockingham County surpassed the states average, seeing an increase of 9.7% while Harrisonburg had an increase of 2%.
Neighboring counties in the Valley have also seen an increase in voter registration — and most were above the state’s average.
Augusta County increased by 7.8%, Page County increased by 3.5% and Shenandoah County increased by 8.4%.
In-person absentee voting started on Friday with the last day to submit an absentee ballot in person being Nov. 2. The last day to submit an absentee ballot application by mail, fax or email is Oct. 29.
The deadline to become a registered voter is Oct. 15.