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Southwest Virginia election officials see ‘unprecedented’ early voting participation

Officials gave 10 News an inside look into absentee ballot processing

These are the last minute things you need to know before you vote.
These are the last minute things you need to know before you vote.

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Local election officials describe early voting participation (mail-in ballots and in-person voting) as “unprecedented.”

In several Southwest Virginia localities, more than half of registered voters have already cast their ballot.

Roanoke County officials report 57% turnout.

In Roanoke City, 43% of registered voters have voted. In Montgomery County it stands at 45%. In Danville it stands at 42%. This is all according to

The coronavirus pandemic changed a lot of voting procedures this year.

10 News was given an inside look into how absentee ballots are processed.

Volunteers begin by dividing ballots by precinct, sorting them alphabetically, and cross-checking names, addresses and signatures before they are scanned.

In Salem, nearly 51% of registered voters have cast their ballots, according to election officials. In 2016, 71% of voters participated in the presidential election.

Dana Oliver is the director of elections in Salem. While she says voter participation trends are higher, she predicts shorter wait times at the polls.

All voting precincts will be at the Salem Civic Center this year.

“We normally have five precincts there but due to COVID, the other five are not open to the public," said Oliver.

Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. in Virginia.

If you still have your absentee ballot, you can drop it off at your voting precinct. You can also switch to in-person voting, but you must have your absentee ballot with you to turn over to the election chief.

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.