RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Nearly 3 million Virginians have already voted in the 2020 election. For some perspective, just under 4 million registered voters in Virginia cast their ballot in the 2016 presidential election and nearly 567,000 of those voted absentee.
These figures indicate how eager voters in Virginia are to return their ballot early and the enthusiasm for this election season.
With Election Day (Nov. 3, 2020) nearly a week away, 8News has created a voter guide for Virginia, including key dates to remember, the different ways to vote, how to find your polling location in an election year shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic and more.
Key dates to remember and polling hours
Polls in Virginia open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. on Election Day. If a voter is in line by 7 p.m., they will be allowed to vote. The deadline to register to vote in Virginia was extended but has since passed.
Deadlines in Virginia
To request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you: request must be received by local registrar by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020
Requesting an absentee ballot in-person/voting early in-person: Oct. 31
Virginia must certify election results: Nov. 16
Ways to vote in 2020
How to vote in Virginia hasn’t changed much. What has changed are the rules for absentee voting. Lawmakers passed measures to make voting easier, including making Election Day a state holiday, a new law permitting no-excuse absentee voting and allowing localities to set up ballot drop off boxes.
Absentee voting – mail-in and in-person
Early voting at local registrar’s offices began on Sept. 18 and ends on Oct. 31. There are also satellite locations where people can vote early or submit their ballot. For example, Chesterfield County is using four county libraries as early voting locations.
Voters in Virginia can drop off their ballots inside designated boxes set up in their districts or in their mailbox. Those who submit a ballot through the mail can track it online as all absentee ballots in Virginia have a bar code on them with an individual number posted on it.
Voters who are blind, have low vision, or impaired manual dexterity can vote absentee using an electronic ballot marking tool that will deliver the ballot electronically. Those who need the assistance can request it when applying for an absentee ballot.
Anyone with a disability can use an accessible voting machine at a polling location and any voter 65 or older or with a disability can vote without leaving their vehicle. Virginians using curbside voting should park in a designated parking space and follow the instructions outside their polling location.
One option that’s also still available: voting on Election Day.
Finding a polling location on Election Day
The coronavirus pandemic has changed our elections, prompting unprecedented spikes in absentee voting across the country, altering how polling locations operate and dictating which ones will remain open for Election Day.
Find which polling locations have changed below and how to find your specific location here.
In Henrico County, four polling places have been changed due to pandemic. Voters who typically use Chestnut Grove Assisted Living Facility, ManorCare Stratford Hall, The Hermitage at Cedarfield or Mountain of Blessings Christian Center will have to use temporary polling places in the county.
|District/Precinct||Current polling location||Temporary polling location for Nov. 3|
|Fairfield/ 218 – Oakview||Chestnut Grove Assisted Living Facility||Brookland Middle School|
|Fairfield/ 221 – Stratford Hall||ManorCare Stratford Hall||Moody Middle School|
|Three Chopt/ 302 Cedarfield||The Hermitage at Cedarfield||Pocahontas Middle School|
|Varina/ 509 – Laburnum||Mountain of Blessings Christian Center||Montrose Elementary School|
Five precincts in the city of Richmond have had to move polling locations due to concerns over the pandemic: 203, 206, 207, 412 and 702. The list below shows where voters in those precincts must now go to cast their ballot on Election Day:
- Precinct 203: Arthur Ashe Center
- Precinct 206: VCU Institute for Contemporary Art
- Precinct 207: Museum of History and Culture
- Precinct 412: Lucille M. Brown Middle School
- Precinct 702: Sarah Garland Jones Center
You can find an interactive map of your precinct here.
All of Chesterfield County’s polling locations will be open on Election Day, according to the registrar’s office. You can find the full list of precincts, polling locations and maps here.
Voters in Hanover County will not have to go to a different polling location this year as all of the county’s locations are still open.
Petersburg voters will go to their regular polling location and the city did not have to move any due to the pandemic. A full list can be found here.
What you need at the poll
Voters in Virginia are required to only show one form of identification in order to cast their ballot at the polls on Election Day. According to state’s Department of Elections, the following are all acceptable forms of ID:
- Voter confirmation documents
- Virginia driver’s license — even if it’s expired
- Virginia DMV-issued ID
- United States passport
- Employer-issued ID
- Student ID issued by any community college or university located in the United States
- Other U.S. or Virginia government-issued ID (including veteran’s ID)
- Tribal enrollment or other tribal ID (if issued by one of the 11 tribes recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia)
- Virginia voter photo ID card
- A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document containing the name and address of the voter
Those who do not have an ID on Election Day can sign an ID confirmation statement or vote a provisional ballot but must submit a copy of a valid ID by noon on Nov. 6 in order for their vote to count. Voters without an ID on Nov. 3 will be given further instruction at their polling place on how to submit a copy of their ID if they sign a confirmation statement or use a provisional ballot.
Voters are asked to wear a mask and follow physical distancing guidelines at polling locations. Christopher Piper, the Commissioner of Virginia’s Department of Elections, said on Oct. 20 that the state cannot enforce Gov. Northam’s mask mandate at the polls but will offer curbside voting and will have masks available to those without them.
This voter guide will be updated. Stay with 8News for updates.