RICHMOND, Va. — The sound of the copy machine at Richmond’s Voter Registration and Elections Office was constant Friday afternoon, printing out information for voters. This day is also the first Virginians can start voting absentee across the state.
Virginians can vote absentee in-person at a local registrar’s office or by mailing a ballot in. Three people went in person Friday to cast their ballot.
“Yesterday we sent out the first ballots both through the mail and through email,” Richmond’s General Registrar Kirk Showalter said.
Virginia is one of 19 states that requires a reason to vote early. There are about 20 acceptable reasons to vote absentee in Virginia, including being a student from an out-of-state college or university, having business outside the city or county of residence on Election Day and more.
Showalter sees people with disabilities and their family members requesting absentee ballots frequently.
If you choose to mail in a ballot, elections officials encourage you to plan ahead because it tends to take a little longer.
“A voted ballot has to be back in your local registrars office no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day,” Showalter said.
Also, make sure you check to see where you are registered to vote. If the registration isn’t correct, that may slow down the process to cast your ballot.
Local voter registration offices will be open from Monday through Friday during regular hours — also on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 — for those who plan to vote absentee in-person.
The Virginia Department of Elections wants people planning to vote on Nov. 5 to remember a few key deadlines:
- Registering to vote — Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019
- Absentee voting begins — Friday, Sept. 20, 2019
- Applying for an absentee ballot by mail — Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019
- Voting absentee in-person — Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019
- Voter registration offices will receive absentee ballots until 7 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2019
You can apply for an absentee ballot here.
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