Virginia voters shatter record for turnout in a Democratic primary


More than 1.3 million Virginia Democrats showed up to cast ballots on Super Tuesday, making it the largest ever presidential primary for either party.

More than 1.3 million Virginians participated in Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary, shattering the state's previous records.

Overall, nearly a quarter of all registered voters cast a ballot to choose the party's nominee against Donald Trump.

As of Wednesday morning, the State Board of Election's unofficial results showed 1,322,187 votes were cast in the primary with all precincts reporting. Joe Biden received more than 53% of those votes, while Bernie Sanders got about 23%.

Virginia has no party registration, so any registered voter was able to participate.

That total represents more than a two-thirds increase in turnout over the 2016 primary, when 785,190 Virginians voted in the Democratic contest. Hillary Clinton won that primary over Sanders by a nearly two-to-one majority, but received at least 200,000 fewer votes than Biden's 2020 total.

Tuesday's election also broke Virginia's previous all-time record for turnout in a Democratic primary by more than a third; that record was set in 2008 when 986,203 voters participated.

And it exceeded by more than a quarter the 1,025,617 votes cast in the 2016 Republican primary, making this the largest ever presidential primary turnout for either party.

Virginia has been trending increasingly blue in recent years, especially since Trump took office. After Democrats swept statewide races in 2017 and picked up three of the state's 11 House seats in 2018, they won majorities in both chambers of the state legislation last year for the first time in decades.

The increase in Democratic enthusiasm has been seen elsewhere this election cycle. Both the New Hampshire and South Carolina Democratic primaries broke their respective all-time turnout records back in February, and Nevada's Democratic caucus came close to doing the same, easily exceeding 2016 participation rates.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.