Voting in Virginia
Voting in 2014 Primaries
Ballot access for major and minor party candidates
Absentee voting • Early voting
Open Primary • Closed Primary • Blanket Primary
Online voter registration in the 50 states
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
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:
- 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
- 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
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.
Military and overseas voting
For full details, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program here.
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."
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.
- 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 December 16, 2013
- 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