September 18 marks the beginning of absentee voting across all localities in Virginia. Virginia voters have more options than ever to make sure their voices are heard this election season. Thanks to new legislation, every registered voter can cast their ballot early without an excuse. Beginning tomorrow, local elections offices will open for in-person voting through Oct. 31, 2020 at 5 p.m.
Virginians are able to request their ballot online at vote.elections.virginia.gov and return it via mail with prepaid postage or to a secure dropbox by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Both of these options allow citizens to participate in the election while protecting their health and minimizing the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
“We hope that voters across the state use this opportunity to vote early and safely,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of Progress Virginia. “Expanded voting options ensure that anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable going to their polling place in person can still make their voice heard in our democracy. This is an important election year, and when we all come together and securely cast our ballots, we can make important changes for our communities.”
In addition to no-excuse early voting, the General Assembly passed legislation in special session to create drop boxes for absentee ballots at local election offices and fund prepaid return postage for people voting by mail. The legislation also allows voters to correct technical errors on their ballots as long as the original ballot was cast by Oct. 31.
No voter should have to choose between exercising their constitutional right to vote and the threat of exposure to COVID-19. Safe and secure elections are vital to preserving our democracy. Virginians have the option to vote absentee or in person so that we can ensure that our most vulnerable neighbors, like seniors and people with disabilities, are able to participate safely in our democracy.
Election Protection, a national, nonpartisan coalition, provides comprehensive information and assistance at all stages of voting–from registration, to absentee and early voting, to casting a vote at the polls, to overcoming obstacles to their participation. Voters may call 1-866-OUR-VOTE if they encounter any problems exercising their right to vote.
Voter Registration Deadlines & Important Dates
- Friday, Sept. 18: Absentee voting begins (this is also when ballots will begin to be mailed if applied for online).
- Tuesday, Oct. 13: Deadline to register to vote or update registration address.
- Friday, Oct. 23: Last day to request an absentee ballot by mail.
- Saturday, Oct. 31: Last day to request an absentee ballot in person.
- Tuesday, Nov. 3: Election Day. Polls are open from 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. (if you are in line by 7 p.m. you can vote). Last day to postmark a mail-in ballot.
For more information, visit the Virginia State Board of Elections website.