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Voter turnout in Virginia nearly doubles from 2016

Nearly twice as many voters cast their ballots in Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday as in 2016. 

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, some 1.3 million votes had been counted in the commonwealth. That’s nearly double the roughly 780,000 votes cast in the state’s 2016 Democratic primary race between former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCongress won't end the wars, so states must Democrats say it's up to GOP to stop Trump 2024 Hillary Clinton to speak at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders summit MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas Prominent Muslim group to boycott White House Eid celebration over stance on Israel-Gaza violence Biden speaks with Israel's Netanyahu again amid ramped-up strikes in Gaza MORE (I-Vt.). 

The number of votes also surpassed the 986,000 cast in the 2008 primary.

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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas UN secretary general 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strike on high rise that housed media outlets Nation's largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks MORE won a decisive victory in Virginia on Tuesday. Current tallies show him with more than 700,000 votes in the state — a roughly 40 percent increase over the half-million votes Clinton received when she won the state four years ago. 

Sanders saw a more modest 10 percent increase over the 275,000 votes he won in Virginia in 2016. He currently has a little over 300,000 votes in the state. 

The sky-high turnout in Virginia comes amid mixed turnout in the four early nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Turnout in Iowa and Nevada fell short of expectations. In New Hampshire, it exceeded the record previously set in 2008. And in South Carolina, turnout nearly matched the record set in 2008 when former President Obama was on the ballot.

Turnout is seen as an important measure of voter enthusiasm. Democrats see voter turnout as an electoral game changer, arguing that the more people who show up to cast their ballot, the better the party’s chances are of defeating President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE in November.