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Voter registration up in Roanoke, deadline to register extended until Thursday

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 3:17 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - In Virginia’s first-ever election with early in-person voting, and voting by mail without providing a reason, Roanoke voters are already turning out at an impressive clip.

“We’ve had about 7,500 in-person voters already and we have mailed out about 12,000 ballots and gotten almost 5,000 of those back," said Roanoke City Registrar Andrew Cochran.

Voter registration in the Star City is also on the rise.

“Right now, we are approaching about a thousand more registrants than we had in the same time period in 2016," said Cochran.

Now, after registration issues Tuesday due to a cut fiber optic line at the Department of Elections, people have two extra days to get registered.

A federal judge moved the registration deadline to Thursday at 5 p.m. in person and Thursday at 11:59 p.m. online – a decision supported by Virginia’s Democratic and Republican parties.

“We have had a lot of phone calls, people asking about the deadline and I think once that word gets out to citizens, we will see an uptick in that," said Cochran.

So far, increased registration numbers and added voting options have helped a great deal of voters get off the sidelines in 2020.

“The percentage of active voters has increased from 85 percent to 95 percent, so that’s really good and speaks to a high voter engagement," said Cochran.

To register online, click here.

October 23 is the final day to request a mail-in ballot. Those need to be postmarked or returned to the registrar’s office by election day.

The final day to vote early in person is October 31.

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