Early Voting Begins Today in Virginia

This year, due to COVID-19, many American’s are choosing to have their voices heard in many ways, including through an absentee ballot. Absentee Balloting is safe and effective; your voice will be heard. While you will still be able to vote in person this year on November 3, below is important information on absentee voting in Virginia to ensure that all Virginians can safely exercise this important aspect of American civic engagement.

Absentee Voting In-Person

You can vote in-person absentee beginning today, 45 days before Election Day (Friday, September 18, 2020), and ending the Saturday before Election Day (Saturday, October 31, 2020). Before going to vote, you may wish to check your registration status or call your registrar’s office to determine the hours and locations that are open. You can find your registrar’s phone number here.

To vote early in-person:

  • Starting today Friday, September 18, 2020, visit your local registrar’s office or a satellite voting location in your county or city to vote early. In-person absentee voting ends on Saturday, October 31, 2020.
  • Registrar offices and satellite voting locations are usually closed on Sundays and on federal holidays. Please verify the voting locations and hours by calling your local registrar’s office. You can find your registrar’s phone number here.
  • As of July 2020, you no longer need a reason to fill out an application to vote absentee.
  • At the registrar’s office or satellite voting location, you must provide your name and address and show an acceptable form of ID or sign an ID Confirmation Statement. To view a complete list of acceptable IDs, please visit our Voting In-Person page.
    Accessible equipment and/or curbside voting is available upon request. A phone number will be posted outside of the voting location that you may dial once you arrive.

Absentee Voting by Mail

You can also submit your “absentee vote by mail” application by mail, fax, or email:

After applying, you can check to see if your absentee application was received and processed by visiting the Virginia Department of Elections’ Citizen Portal.

  • After the registrar processes your application, you will receive your ballot in the mail.
    Please note: ballots will be mailed out to applicants starting 45 days prior to the relevant election date, but not any sooner. This means that if you have already applied for your absentee ballot, it will be mailed to you no sooner than Friday, September 18, 2020.
  • Carefully review the instructions to complete and return your ballot to your local registrar by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.
  • If you are returning your ballot by-mail, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your registrar by noon on the third day after the election.
  • You may also choose to return your ballot by walking into your local registrar’s office. Contact information for your local general registrar’s office is available using our online lookup tool. You can also find your registrar’s phone number here.
  • Please note: only some first-time voters who registered to vote by mail may also vote absentee by mail. See below for more information.

After returning your ballot by mail, you can check to see if whether your ballot was received by visiting the Virginia Department of Elections’ Citizen Portal.

Special Federal ID Requirements for Certain First Time Absentee by Mail Voters

For persons who registered to vote in Virginia by mail, federal law requires them to show identification (ID) when voting for the first time in a federal election if they did not send a copy of one of these IDs with their voter registration applications.

Recent legislation has eliminated the differences in acceptable identification for in-person voting. Therefore, the special federal ID requirements only apply to certain absentee voters by mail who will be notified by a notice explaining the requirements sent with their absentee ballot.

Voters who receive a notice about these special requirements need to include a copy of any of the following types of ID with the voted ballot:

  1. A current and valid photo ID (for example a driver’s license);
  2. or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck that shows name and address;
  3. or another government document that shows name and address (for example a voter card). If the voter returns an absentee ballot by mail without a copy of one of these forms of ID, the absentee ballot will be treated as a provisional ballot and counted only if the voter provides a copy of ID to the electoral board by the deadline applicable to all voters.

If the voter returns an absentee ballot by mail without a copy of one of these forms of ID, the absentee ballot will be treated as a provisional ballot and counted only if the voter provides a copy of ID to the electoral board by the deadline applicable to all voters.

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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