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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

At least 667,000 Virginians — over 3 1/2 times more than in all of 2017 — have submitted early ballots for the general election taking place next week, according to data from the Democratic data firm TargetSmart.

Why it matters: The state's bellwether governor's race is expected to be close. It's hard to read much from early vote counts, though, given Democrats have generally been more likely to vote early than Republicans, and early voting has become more accessible and popular only recently in the state.

By the numbers: New state voting laws and the coronavirus pandemic have made early and mail-in voting more popular in Virginia. By comparison, fewer than 190,000 votes were cast early in all of 2017 — when Virginia last had a gubernatorial election.

  • 55% of early voters so far are likely Democrats, according to TargetSmart's models, compared to 30% likely Republicans.
  • Early Virginia voters also are far more likely to be consistent and dedicated voters. Only 13% of votes so far were cast by infrequent or first-time voters, according to the data.

TargetSmart assesses voter frequency with its own metric.

  • "Super-voters" are the top third most-active voters in the state, while "infrequent voters" include those most likely to miss elections and those who have been eligible for fewer than three elections.
  • As of Tuesday evening, about one in four votes cast had come from likely Democratic voters in the D.C. media market.

What they're saying: "One thing that's pretty obvious," the Cook Political Report's David Wasserman told Axios. "Young voters are fairly disengaged — but that's not atypical for an off year."

  • Wasserman added he thought Republican Glenn Youngkin would be in a better spot if he had managed to better distance himself from former President Trump.
  • "What's surprised me most in the home stretch, is [Democrat Terry] McAuliffe's lack of a consistent message ... which tells me that they haven't identified one message that has cut against Youngkin," Wasserman said.

Go deeper

Rep. Jeffries demands filibuster reform to pass voting rights bill

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told “Axios on HBO" that the “integrity of our democracy” is at stake without federal voting rights legislation, and the Senate must seriously consider filibuster reform if it can’t get 60 votes to pass it next year.

What they’re saying: “It's an open question as to whether we can get to 60 votes in the Senate on voting. And if we can't, then the Senate is going to have to make some decisions as it relates to filibuster reform,”Jeffries said.

"Midnight is approaching” to pass voting rights protections

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Defenders of democracy in America still have a slim window of opportunity to act. But time is ticking away, and midnight is approaching," according to more than 150 top scholars of U.S. democracy in a new push to temporarily suspend the Senate filibuster and pass voting rights protections on a simple majority vote.

Driving the news: Their unified front comes amid a short break in the legislative action on Capitol Hill, with the start of the Thanksgiving recess and after the House passage of President Biden's "Build Back Better" social spending package.

Storms pummel flood-hit Pacific Northwest as border river overflows

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders and at least one mudslide in flood-ravaged British Columbia, Canada, late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed. Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., told reporters the water flow was headed toward the Canadian border city later Sunday. "There's nothing to stop it," he said.