Voting in Virginia
|Voting policy in the United States|
| State poll times (2015) |
| Voting in the 2015 primary elections |
| Voting in the 2015 general elections |
|Voter identification laws by state|
|Voting information by state|
To vote in Virginia, you must meet the following requirements:
- 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:
- Local voter registration office
- 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.
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.
- See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times
You are eligible to vote absentee in an election if you cannot make it to the polls on Election Day for one of the following reasons:
- You are a "student attending college or university outside of locality of residence in Virginia"
- You are a "spouse of student attending college or university outside locality of residence in Virginia"
- You have "business outside County/City of residence on election day"
- You have "personal business or vacation outside County/City of residence on election day"
- You are "working and commuting to/from home for 11 or more hours between 6:00 AM and 7:00 PM on election day"
- You are a "first responder (law enforcement, fire fighter, emergency technician, etc.)"
- You have a "disability or illness"
- You are "primarily and personally responsible for the care of a disabled/ill family member confined at home"
- You are pregnant
- You are "confined, awaiting trial"
- You are "confined, convicted of misdemeanor"
- You are an "electoral board member, registrar, officer of election, or custodian of voting equipment"
- You "have a religious obligation"
- You are an "Active Duty Merchant Marine or Armed Forces"
- You are a "spouse or dependent living with" an Active Duty Merchant Marine or Armed Forces member
- You are "temporarily residing outside U.S."
- You are "temporarily residing outside of U.S. for employment or spouse or dependent residing with employee"
- You are "requesting a ballot for presidential and vice-presidential electors only"
- You are an "authorized representative of candidate or party serving inside the polling place"
To vote absentee by mail, the deadline to apply is 5 p.m. (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.
Military and overseas voting
For full details regarding military and overseas voting, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
A House subcommittee rejected a bill that would have allowed 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."
Virginia is one of fourteen states that do not allow early voting. Although it is not technically considered early voting, Virginians may submit an absentee ballot in-person, serving the same purpose as early voting.
- Voter registration info
- Voter ID laws
- Virginia State Board of Elections, "Virginia Absentee Ballot Application Form," accessed December 16, 2013
- Virginia State Board of Elections, "Absentee Voting," accessed January 21, 2015
- TimesDispatch.com, "Va. House subcommittee rejects 1 absentee voting bill, backs another," January 15, 2013
- Long Distance Voter, "Early Voting Rules," accessed December 16, 2013
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "Absentee and Early Voting," accessed December 16, 2013