VA: 'Inactive' Voters Nearly Double, Could Dampen Turnout
The 5.2 million voters registered and eligible to vote in Virginia's gubernatorial election on Tuesday between Democrat Terry McAuliffe, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, and Libertarian Robert Sarvis represents an increase of 5 percent from the 4.9 million who were registered and eligible to vote in the 2009 gubernatorial election in which Republican Bob McDonnell crushed Democrat Creigh Deeds by a 59 percent to 41 percent margin.
The increase in registered voters roughly parallels the state's estimated 5 percent increase in population over the same four years. Based on data from the United States Census Bureau for 2010 and 2012, Breitbart News estimates that the population of Virginia was 7.9 million in November 2009 and has increased by 400,000 to 8.3 million in November 2013.
The important question for Tuesday's election is what impact this continued growth will have on turnout. Breitbart News' Mike Flynn reported on Monday that turnout percentages have declined for six consecutive gubernatorial election cycles in Virginia, bottoming out at 40 percent in 2009.
If that trend continues, and voter turnout is below 40 percent on Tuesday, most analysts believe that will give Republican Ken Cuccinelli the best opportunity to score an upset victory, despite election eve polls that show him losing to McAuliffe by six to seven percent.
A spokesperson for the Virginia State Board of Elections told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on Monday that 5,240,313 Virginians are registered and eligible to vote in Tuesday's gubernatorial election. This represents an increase of 288,381 from the 4,951,694 who were registered and eligible to vote in the 2009 gubernatorial election.
Since 2009 there has been a dramatic increase in the number of "inactive" voters from 242,875 to 445,874. Both active and inactive voters can vote at the polls, but inactive voters are in danger of being removed from the voting rolls in the near future.
A spokesperson for the Virginia State Board of Elections told Breitbart News that "[i]nactive voters are ones who have been identified by the federally required check of our voters against the USPS NCOA data and who have failed to respond to a mailer sent to the voter. These voters remain in the inactive status until they vote or until they fail to vote in 2 consecutive federal elections. After missing the 2 consecutive federal election, these voters are removed from the voter rolls in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act."
The increase in the number of inactive voters may be another advance indication that the trend of decreasing voter turnout is likely to continue in 2013.