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2012 voter turnout rivals 2008, third-party support increases

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These third party presidential candidates will debate tonight on Ora TV: Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party (from left), Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, and Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party. Photos courtesy of the candidates

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Preliminary numbers indicate that voter turnout in Virginia closely rivaled the historic turnout of 2008, and that third-party candidates received more votes in this election.

In the 2008 election, voter turnout in the Commonwealth was 3,723,260.  The 2012 voter turnout, with 98% of precincts reporting, was 3,623,071. The difference tallies out to be 100,189 more voters in 2008.

The 2008 election brought 67% of eligible Virginian voters to the polls.  It was considered the highest turnout rate in the Commonwealth in the modern political period.

Virginia voter support for third-party candidates increased in the 2012 election. Preliminary numbers indicate that more than 50,000 votes were cast in favor of third-party candidates.

Former Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode did not receive as many votes as Libertarian candidate and former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson.

Once write-in votes were factored in, the early report for ballots cast indicated that no two-party candidates totaled 56,707.

That number shows an increase of 17,984 votes over the 2008 support of third-party candidates. In 2008 third-party candidates received 32,368 ballots, and there were 6,355 write-in votes.

Third-party candidates received 1.6 percent of the Virginia vote in 2012. While that is up from 1.1 percent in 2008, it is down from election in 2000 (3.2 percent), 1996 (7.8 percent) and 1992 (14.4 percent). In 1992 and 1996 Independent candidate Ross Perot received a vast majority of those third-party votes.

For complete election results, click here.