Capitol Connection

Election Day preparations: What you need to know before going to the polls

RICHMOND, Va. --- The polls are opening in a matter of hours for the 2018 midterm elections.

It was a busy weekend for the folks over at the Chesterfield County Registrar’s Office, as they prepared for voters.

“The rest of the equipment went out this morning to the non-school polling places. So, we’re pretty much all set for the Election,” General Registrar Constance Tyler said. “We’re fielding phone calls and emergency voters today.”

People were in and out of the office all day asking questions.

The county is seeing record absentee ballot voting. The average turnout of a midterm, Tyler says is over 4,500 in-person absentee voters. After the deadline hit Saturday, over 5,400 people voted in-person absentee. In total, there are over 13,000 absentee ballots for the county. That’s about double compared to last year’s election, which included the governor’s race.

The deadline for them to be returned to the local registrars’ offices is 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Sometimes there are long lines at the polls. Tyler notices some points of the day are busier than others.

“If you’re showing up at 6 o’clock, and noon and maybe 5 o’clock be prepared for lines,’ she added.

If you’re planning to vote tomorrow, you need to make sure you have a photo identification with you. Virginia is one of a handful of states that requires you to have a photo ID to vote. Tyler says that ID has to be valid, meaning that it’s “not expired for more than 12 months.”

If you don’t have a driver’s license, passport or one of the other forms of accepted ID, you can get your picture taken at your local registrar’s office for free. Then you will be given a temporary ID that will be accepted at the polls.

One was printed for Tyler in a matter of minutes of getting the photo taken.

“If they do not have a photo ID they filled out a provisional ballot and they have until the Friday after the election at 12 noon to get a copy of their ID into us,” Tyler said.

Tyler says you can scan, email or fax in the ID or come in person to give it to the registrar’s office.

To find where you’re supposed to vote, go to the Dept. of Elections website. While you’re there, you can also see who is on your ballot and read up on the constitutional amendments proposed too.

Polling places open at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6. They close at 7 p.m. If you are in line when the polling hours end, you will still be able to vote.

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