How to Vote in Virginia
Citizens aged 18 and over can vote in the upcoming general election in Virginia. However, they need to follow the proper steps to register and locate their polling place to vote on November 3, 2020.
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How to Register to Vote in Virginia
You can register to vote in Virginia any time up to 22 days before Election Day. For the upcoming general election, the deadline for registration in Virginia is October 13. This deadline applies to new registrants and also to people who need to update their address. To qualify to register as a voter in the state of Virginia, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be a citizen of the United States.
- You must be at least 18 years old on election day, which is on November 3 this year.
- You must be a resident of Virginia.
- You must not have been declared mentally incompetent by a court of law.
- You must have had your voting rights restored if you have ever been a convicted felon.
If you meet these requirements, you may register to vote online, in person, or by mail. You need to provide proof of identity and residence, such as a state ID or driver’s license, when registering. You also need this ID at the polling place on election day.
Registering in Person
To register to vote in person, you need to go to one of the following locations and bring any necessary documentation. You may register at:
- A designated voter registration office;
- Any designated state or local government office, such as centers that offer social services;
- Military recruitment offices;
- DMV locations;
- Public libraries.
Virginia also sometimes holds special voter registration events. You may attend and register at one of these events.
You can register as a voter online by visiting the official Virginia Elections website. During the registration process, you will have to provide specific identifying information, such as the last four digits of your Social Security number.
The deadlines for voting are the same as the deadlines for other registration methods. You need to register by October 13, 2020.
Registering by Mail
To register by mail, download the registration form from the Virginia Elections website. After providing all the necessary information, send it to your local elections office.
The registration must be postmarked by the October 13 registration deadline. You can find the correct voter registration mailing address on the Virginia Elections website.
Am I Registered to Vote in Virginia?
Since most people only vote every two to four years, it can be difficult to remember if you are a registered voter. If you’re not sure whether you’re a registered voter in Virginia, you may check your status on the Virginia Elections website.
Local elections offices also have voter information. You may contact your local election office by phone or visit in person to find out about your voter registration status. You need a Virginia state ID or other proof of residence to register.
Early Voting in Virginia
Virginia does not permit early voting. However, you may be able to use an absentee ballot to vote before Election Day. You need to provide a reason for needing an absentee ballot; you cannot simply choose to vote using this option. These reasons can include travel or study away from your jurisdiction or employment commitments that require you to work during election hours.
You need to include the reason for your absentee voting in your application for a ballot, which you can submit in person, via mail, or online. You can vote up to 45 days before the election, and the deadline for the absentee ballot is 7 p.m. (poll closing time) on November 3. Mail the ballot to your local elections office.
Voting in Virginia on Election Day
On Election Day, you cast your vote at the polling place for the area where you are registered. Virginia requires that you present a valid ID to vote. Acceptable IDs include a driver’s license or other government-issued ID. You can also use a U.S. passport or a school ID as long as it contains your legal name and photo.
Those who do not have a valid ID may cast a provisional ballot that could be approved once they can verify their identity.
Polling places in Virginia are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. These times apply to all voting centers in the state.
Why Voting Is Important
When you vote in elections, you are choosing elected officials at the local, state, and federal level. They will introduce, approve, or alter laws that could affect your daily life.
They are responsible for crafting legislation about things such as Virginia state taxes, minimum wage, and healthcare policy. On Election Day, you have the chance to choose candidates who will address issues that are important to you and create laws that could directly benefit you.
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This post was updated March 23, 2020. It was originally published March 23, 2020.