It’s fall, y’all! And that means not only is it spooky season, but it’s also my personal favorite, election season. That’s right, it’s time to start thinking about who we are voting for and making our plans vote, if we haven’t already.
One new thing we have in Virginia now is same-day voter registration. You may have heard that the voter registration deadline was October 17, and that’s true. But if you forgot to register or update your voter registration, you still have some options if you want to participate in our elections this year.
If you are a newly registered voter or something has changed since you last registered (meaning you have never been registered to vote in Virginia before or you need to update your information), you can still register to vote now, even though the deadline has passed. You can do it on Election Day at your regular polling place or early in-person at your local voter registrar office or satellite location. But instead of casting a regular ballot, you will cast a provisional ballot.
So what the heck is a provisional ballot? Provisional ballots are for people who don’t appear on the voter rolls. They aren’t counted and processed on election night, but don’t panic! They still count! Instead of being counted processed on election night, the registrar will confirm that you are a qualified voter and then count the ballot. When you vote with a provisional ballot, you will be given details about the public electoral board meeting, they have to check and count the provisional ballots. If an election is very close, this meeting can often determine who wins or loses the race.
But if attending a whole meeting sounds like a lot, don’t worry. You don’t have to attend the meeting for your vote to count, but you can go if you want to. If for some reason, the electoral board finds that you are not a qualified voter (very unlikely) your vote won’t be counted and you will be notified of the reason why so you can fix it before the next election. But if all is well with your registration, your vote will be counted and added to the vote total for the candidate you voted for.
What if you are already registered to vote somewhere in Virginia, but just need to update your address to your new polling location? Good news! You can update your voter registration and cast a regular ballot that is counted on Election Day either early in-person at the registrar’s office or on Election Day itself. You’ll just update your information when you show up.
So, if you missed the October 17 voter registration deadline, you can still vote and make your voice heard in our elections this year! And it’s important that you do. Some of the closest congressional races in the country are happening right here in Virginia, so your vote matters even more.
Not sure who to vote for? We’ve got you covered. Check out our Progressive Voters Guide to find out who is on your ballot and who is worth supporting and who isn’t.
See you at the polls!