KNOW YOUR VOTING RIGHTS
Five voting rights must-knows:
- Absentee Voting
- General Voting Information
- Restoration of Voting Rights
- Top Questions Asked by Voters
- Virginia's Voter ID Law
Anyone can vote absentee for any reason starting 45 days before Election Day. You can vote absentee by mail or in-person beginning Saturday, Sept. 19. (Va. Code §24.2-700).
The absentee ballot application and procedures are available online at elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/index.html or your local registrar’s office. (Va. Code §24.2-701, §24.2-707)
How do I vote absentee?
You can request an absentee ballot 12 months before an election, but they get mailed out 45 days before.
There are three ways to vote absentee in Virginia.
Apply for your ballot online: (If you have a Virginia Driver's License or Virginia DMV issued ID.)
- Visit vote.elections.virginia.gov.
Enter your first and last name, birth date, the last 4 digits of your social security number, and your locality of residence.
Check the box that you are “applying to vote absentee.”
Follow the prompts.
Call your local registrar's office: (If you are a first-time registrant or do not have a state-issued ID)
- You can look up your local registrar's office number here.
- Ask them to send you an application in the mail.
You can download and print your own application at home: (If you are a first-time registrant or do not have a state-issued ID)
- Fill out the printed application, sign it. Then mail a hard copy or email a scanned copy to your local registrar's office.
Important absentee deadlines:
|Election Date||Request Absentee Ballot by Mail||Request Absentee Ballot In-Person|
|Nov. 3||5:00 p.m. on Oct. 27||5:00 p.m. on Oct. 31|
View important deadlines: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/calendars-schedules/upcoming-elections.html
How do I return my absentee ballot?
Read and follow the instructions included with your ballot.
Make sure to fill out the statement completely and accurately. For example, if you fill in an address that is different than your voter registration address, your ballot will not count.
You can drop off your ballot to your local registrar by 7 p.m. on Election Day. If you mail it in, for now, your ballot must received by 7 p.m. on Election Day. After July 1, 2020, as long as your ballot is postmarked by Election Day, it will be counted.
You can check if you are registered to vote online at elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation, or by calling your local registrar or the Department of Elections at (800) 552-9745.
When you apply to renew, replace or apply for a state-issued ID card, your information will be sent to the State Board of Elections for the purposes of automatically registering you to vote as long as you are a citizen who is over the age of 17 and you did not decline to have your information transmitted.
When is the voter registration deadline?
The deadline to register to vote for the upcoming elections are:
|Election Date||Voter Registration Deadline|
|Nov. 3 General Elections||Tuesday, Oct. 13|
Register online (www.elections.virginia.gov), or find applications at all local voter registration offices, public libraries, and DMV offices.
When do I vote?
- General Elections are on Tuesday, Nov. 3
Polling places are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Where do I vote?
Call your local voter registration office before Election Day or check your most recently issued voter registration card. You may also find your polling place online at elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation.
What if I need language assistance?
You have the right to bring someone who can translate the ballot and help you communicate with poll workers. (Va. Code §24.2-649 (C))
How do I make a complaint?
Ask for an officer of election at your polling place. The officer can handle most routine complaints. Candidates, political parties, and nonprofit groups may also have poll watchers at your polling place who may be able to assist you. You can also call the Virginia Department of Elections (800-552-9745). You can file a complaint online at elections.virginia.gov/voter-complaints.
- (a) receive a letter from the governor individually restoring your voting rights, then
- (b) register to vote.
- Nov. 3 general elections, you must have your voting rights restored and registered to vote before Oct. 13.
To check if your civil rights have been restored go to https://solutions.virginia.gov/RestorationOfRights or call 804-692-0104.
- If I’m in line when the polls close, can I still vote? Yes! You have the right to vote if you are in line by 7 p.m. when the polls close. (Va. Code §24.2-603)
- Can I wear campaign apparel when going to vote? Yes! You are allowed to wear apparel, including shirts, hats, buttons or stickers that contain a candidate’s name or a political slogan when they go to the polls to vote. (Va. Code §24.2-604(J))
- What if I need instructions on how to use the voting equipment? Ask a poll worker for help. Poll workers are required to assist you any time you ask. You can request help after entering the voting booth but should be allowed to vote privately after receiving help. (Va. Code §24.2-647)
- What if I believe I am registered but a poll worker says I am not? Ask the poll worker to contact the local registrar. If the registrar is unavailable or cannot find your name, ask for a provisional ballot. You have the right to cast a provisional ballot even if your name is not on the voter list. However, know that your ballot may not be counted if the Board of Elections finds no record of your registration. (Va. Code §24.2-652-653)
- What if someone challenges my eligibility to vote even though I am on the list of registered voters? Ask for the Affirmation of Eligibility form. You have the right to vote or at least cast a provisional ballot if you sign this form. (Va. Code §24.2-651)
- What if I've moved since the last election? You should change your address online at elections.virginia.gov/registration/view-your-info, or send a letter to your local registrar before the election registration deadline. More information on the impact of moving can be found on the address change located at elections.virginia.gov/registration/view-your-info.
- What should I do if I make a mistake on a paper ballot, or the machine malfunctions? Do NOT cast your ballot! Ask for a replacement ballot immediately. You have a right to as many replacement ballots as you need. (Va. Code §24.2-645). If your machine malfunctions, inform a poll worker who will direct you to a different machine or give you a paper ballot. (Va. Code §24.2-642, §24.2-646.1)
What if I need help in the voting booth because of a physical disability or I have trouble reading or writing? Ask a poll worker for a Request for Assistance form. You have the right to have a poll worker, friend or relative help you in the voting booth if you sign this form. (Va. Code §24.2-649 (B)). If you think it will be difficult to vote inside the polling place, you have the right to vote curbside. On Election Day, you can send someone into the polling place to request curbside voting on your behalf. Poll workers will bring a ballot or voting machine outside so you can vote. (Va. Code §24.2-649 (A))
The list of acceptable IDs
- Voter registration card
- Bank statement, utility bill
- Any government document that shows your name and address
- DMV issued ID; passport; drivers license
For a full list of acceptable IDs, visit: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/registration/photo-ids-required-to-vote/index.html
What if I Don't Have an ID?
If you don’t have an ID, go to your nearest voter registration office to get a free Voter Photo ID, even on Election Day!
You will be required to complete a Virginia Voter Photo Identification Card Application, have your photo taken, and sign a digital signature pad. The Virginia Voter Photo ID card is valid for voting purposes only. https://www.elections.virginia.gov/registration/photo-ids-required-to-vote/
What if I Forget my Form of ID?
If you forget your ID and you have time, it is usually better to go back and get it. Voters without identification must cast a provisional ballot. You must deliver a copy of your ID to your local electoral board no later than noon on Friday after the elections by fax, email, mail, or in person. You will be given instructions on what to do so your vote can count. (Va. Code §24.2-653)