The countdown to midterm elections begins, elections officials see increase in voter registration

ROANOKE, Va. – We are just under 40 days from the midterm elections and the push to get out the vote is heating up.

“People have died and sacrificed to have this right and it would not be appropriate or the thing to do to ignore what people have done in the past. We stand on their shoulders,” said Brenda Hale, president of Roanoke Branch NAACP. 

The Roanoke NAACP has been preparing for Nov. 6 by spreading the word on the importance of voting and assisting with registering individuals. 

This Saturday, they are putting on one of their largest initiatives thus far, a drive-thru voter registration event.

“We are reaching out to that new person that has never voted before in their life. And we want to register people who have voted but have not been participating in the process,” said Hale.

The drive-thru will allow people to register in under five minutes without having to leave their car.
The NAACP has been working with Roanoke City's registrar’s office.
And according to them, organizations like this civil rights group have had an impact on registration. 

“It has markedly picked up. (Especially) over the past two weeks we also have lot of third-party group' call and show interest in hosting voter registration drives,” said Andrew Cochran, director of elections and general registrar for Roanoke City.

Right now Roanoke City has 62,000 registered voters.In the beginning of the year it was just shy of 61,000. 

Roanoke County, too, has seen a larger increase it has almost doubled from last year.

“We are six months in the year and our statistics are fairly close to what they were for the entire 2016 election year. The county has almost 70,000 voters now,” said  Anna Cloeter, director of elections and general registrar for Roanoke County. 

If you have not registered to vote, the last day for Virginia is Oct. 15. Both jurisdictions want to remind people that there is no early voting but absentee ballots are available now.

And to get out to the polls.