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Driven by Youth, Virginia Voter Registration Highest Since 2016

Virginia voter registration in 2015 and 2019.
Virginia voter registration in 2015 and 2019 (Photo: Virginia Public Access Project)

Virginia voter registration is at its highest levels since 2016, suggesting high interest in the traditionally sleepy off-year elections.

Over 188,000 voters registered through September, according to data from the Department of Elections. That's up from around 117,000 registrations in the same period in 2015. 

Nearly 8,000 voters under the age of 25 registered in September 2019, an increase of 75% over September 2015.

Democrats are trying to take control of the state's legislature for the first time since 1995.

A group started by millionaire and Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Steyer announced in June that it plans to spend $1 million in Virginia to register 12,000 young voters, especially college students. NextGen America has also launched digital ad campaigns on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and similar platforms.

A spokesperson for NextGen said they've registered over 7,600 voters so far. 

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of registered voters so far this year.

Ben Paviour covers courts and criminal justice for VPM News with a focus on accountability.
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