Voting in Virginia

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Information about Voting
Election DatesEarly votingAbsentee voting
Voting in 2012 PrimariesVoting on November 6, 2012
Poll Opening and Closing Times

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This page has information relating to voting in Virginia. For full information contact your state election agency.

Registration

Virginia uses an open primary system, meaning voters are not required to declare a party preference when registering to vote.

To vote in Virginia, you must meet the following requirements:[1]

  • Be a resident of Virginia (A person who has come to Virginia for temporary purposes and intends to return to another state is not considered a resident for voting purposes)
  • Be a U. S. Citizen
  • Be 18 years old (Any person who is 17 years old and will be eighteen years of age at the next general election shall be permitted to register in advance and also vote in any intervening primary or special election)
  • Not be registered and plan to vote in another state
  • Not currently declared mentally incompetent by a court of law
  • If convicted of a felony, your right to vote must have been restored

When and where

Registration forms can be obtained at any of the following locations:[1]

  • Local voter registration office
  • Online
  • State or local government offices when applying or recertifying for Aid to Dependent Children, Food Stamps, WIC, Medicaid, or Rehabilitation Services
  • Government offices in the State that provide State-funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to person with disabilities
  • Armed forces recruitment offices
  • Public libraries
  • State Board of Elections office
  • Department of Motor Vehicles offices
  • Voter Registration Drives

The deadline for registering is 22 days before any primary or general election or 13 days before any special election.[1]

Voting on election day

For persons who registered to vote in Virginia by mail, federal law requires them to show identification when voting for the first time in a federal election if they did not send a copy of one of these IDs with their voter registration applications. Virginia law requires all other voters to provide identification at the polls, or sign an Affirmation of Identity under felony penalty, in order to vote at the polls.
Note: On May 20, 2012 Gov. Bob McDonnell signed legislation that requires someone without identification to vote provisionally. This would eliminate the Affirmation of Identity. According to reports, the U.S. Justice Department must determine whether Virginia's new law is constitutional.[2]

Poll times

See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times

In Virginia, all polls are open from 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Eastern Time.[3]

Absentee voting

Eligibility

Voters are eligible to vote absentee in an election if they cannot make it to the polls on election day for one of the following reasons:[4]

  • Student attending college or university outside of locality of residence in Virginia
  • Spouse of student attending college or university outside locality of residence in Virginia
  • Business outside County/City of residence on election day
  • Personal business or vacation outside County/City of residence on election day
  • Working and commuting to/from home for 11 or more hours between 6 AM and 7 PM on election day
  • First responder (law enforcement, fire fighter, emergency technician, etc.)
  • Disability or illness
  • Primarily and personally responsible for the care of a disabled/ill family member confined at home
  • Pregnancy
  • Confined, awaiting trial
  • Confined, convicted of misdemeanor
  • Electoral board member, registrar, officer of election, or custodian of voting equipment
  • Religious obligation
  • Active Duty Merchant Marine or Armed Forces
  • Spouse or dependent living with Active Duty Merchant Marine or Armed Forces member
  • Temporarily residing outside U.S.
  • Temporarily residing outside of U.S. for employment or spouse or dependent residing with employee
  • Requesting a ballot for presidential and vice-presidential electors only
  • Authorized representative of candidate or party serving inside the polling place

Deadlines

To vote absentee by mail, the deadline to apply is 5 PM EST on the Tuesday prior to the election. To vote absentee in person, the deadline to apply is the Saturday before the election. The ballot must then be returned by close of polls on election day.[5]

Military and overseas voting

For full details, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program here.

2013 developments

A House subcommittee rejected a bill that would allow citizens to vote absentee without requiring a reason for doing so. The reason stated for rejecting the bill was a lack of resources. Win Sowder of the Williamsburg registrar's office said, "This would be a real burden on our office. Our office is really small and early absentee voting would set us up for failure."[6]

However, a different bill by Delegate Daniel W. Marshall, III which would allow voters 65 and older to cast absentee ballots without an excuse was approved.[6]

Early voting

Virginia is one of eight states that allow early voting but require an excuse to vote early (reasons are the same as those for absentee voting, detailed above). Early voting begins as soon as ballots become available and ends on the Saturday before the election.[7][8]

See also

External links

References