RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The City of Richmond made it easier for voters to return their absentee ballots for Tuesday’s primary election.
Because of COVID-19, the requirements to vote through absentee ballot were more forgiving and many voters opted for that choice. The Richmond Office of the Registrar sent out a record number of absentee ballots by mail.
“We issued over 9,000 absentee ballots through the mail. That exceeds even any presidential election that we’ve ever done,” said General Registrar Kirk Showalter.
COVID-19 was added to the list of reasons to request an absentee ballot. Richmond resident Charles Hagen and his wife were thankful for that.
“We’re both older. I have cancer so we’re a little bit hesitant to go into public buildings, so this worked out great,” said Hagen.
There are two elections in Tuesday’s primary. Voters can vote for the democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives 4th Congressional District or the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Voters can only vote in one of the two.
The Richmond Office of the Registrar offered a “drive up and drop off” service outside City Hall Monday for voters to easily drop off their absentee ballots. Showalter said many of the ballots were requested at the last minute so the service helped get the ballots in by the 7 p.m. Tuesday deadline.
“We were worried a little bit about the voters getting it to us through the mail,” she said.
If you have an absentee ballot and still need to turn it in, you are asked to drop it off at City Hall, Room 105 by 7 p.m. Tuesday rather than bringing it to your polling location.
If you did not apply for an absentee ballot, polls are open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. You will be asked to sanitize your hands before entering and to wear a mask. Polling locations are using one-use pens and folders to increase sanitization.