Voter turnout surges in Shenandoah Valley

Turnout in the 2018 midterms surged from 2014 numbers throughout the Shenandoah Valley, according to a Northern Virginia Daily analysis of data from the Virginia Department of Elections.

The data show only two of the 245 precincts in Virginia’s 6th District,  one in Amherst County and another in Lynchburg, had a lower turnout in 2018 than in 2014. The Lynchburg precinct had a virtually identical turnout in the 2018 midterms compared to the 2014 midterms, while the Amherst precinct saw its turnout decrease by around 9 percent.

The Amherst precinct has 955 registered voters.

Most of the precincts in Shenandoah and Warren counties saw their turnout rates increase by between 10 and 20 percent from 2014 numbers.

That fits well within the trend throughout Virginia’s 6th District.

But there were two exceptions to that rule.

Both the Woodstock and Lebanon Church precincts had an over 30 percent increase in their turnout rates from 2014.

Lebanon Church had the highest increase of any precinct in the 6th District, while the increase in Woodstock gave that town the third-highest increase across the state. The two precincts also had among the highest turnout rates overall across the state.

Del. Ben Cline, R-Lexington, who was elected to Congress in the 6th District, easily carried both precincts, as well as all of Shenandoah and Warren counties. Cline carried 79 percent of the vote in Lebanon Church and 72 percent of the vote in Woodstock.

Corey Stewart, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, also carried all of Shenandoah and Warren counties, although he did not win by as large a margin as Cline did. According to unofficial results, Stewart lost the Senate race by around 15 percent in the statewide vote.

Election officials in the two counties did not respond to a request for comment.

The increased turnout rates come as voters across the country showed up to the polls in higher numbers than they did in 2014. According to an estimate from the New York Times, around 114 million people across the country voted in House elections on Tuesday, well above the 83 million people who voted in the House in the 2014 midterm elections.

The tallies from the Virginia Department of Elections and other states are unofficial, however, meaning that the results could, and in some cases will change when state election boards certify their results.