Confused about the best way to cast your vote this year?
You can barely go a day without hearing a news story about the upcoming election this fall. With the social distancing concerns surrounding COVID-19, many people are unsure of how they'll be submitting their ballots. Here are the three ways you can get the job done in Virginia.
First and foremost, consider the Virginia Department of Elections your official online resource.
You may receive official-looking documents from third parties trying to get you to apply for absentee voting, but your best bet is to go straight to the state. You can even follow along with their Twitter account for updates and election day facts.
The deadline for registering to vote or updating your voting information for the November election is two months from today, Oct. 13. Go to our citizen's portal and get #ReadyToVote https://t.co/l8zwwBTgwV #VAisForVoters #VaElections2020 pic.twitter.com/OnrSo6jpr4— VA Dept of Elections (@vaELECT) August 20, 2020
Go to the polls in person.
If you prefer to vote on Election Day, November 3, then this option is still going to be available. Due to social distancing guidelines, it may take longer, but the basic tenets will be the same. Polling places will open right at 6 a.m.
Look up your specific polling place online here and plan on being in line by at least 7 p.m. Anyone who is already present and in line will be given the opportunity to vote that day, even hours later. Pack a face covering, a bottle of water, and a snack just in case!
The cool thing about voting early is that you can do so up to 45 days before Election Day. All you have to do is find your local register's office and go cast your ballot during open office hours. You may also have a satellite voting location in your city or county, so do your research.
Be prepared if you vote early in person. You will be required to show a government-issued identification card or sign an ID Confirmation Statement.
Did you know that, because of a July 1 change in the law, you can vote early in Virginia, starting 45 days before an election, without a reason? You can apply for a ballot for the Nov. General Election now at https://t.co/o1hqLHWyEC. #VAisForVoters #VaElections2020 pic.twitter.com/57gjrxiGg0— VA Dept of Elections (@vaELECT) August 7, 2020
Apply to vote by mail.
Absentee ballots are provided to registered voters who apply and are qualified for them. You can apply online here or print out the application form and mail it in. With all of the discussion about delays in the mail service, be aware that you can always drop off your mail-in ballot as well. Just look for your official register's office and take your completed ballot in during posted business hours.
Once your absentee ballot application has been submitted, you can log in to the Citizen's Portal to keep an eye on its progress. When it's approved, you'll see a note of when your ballot was mailed to you and another note of when your returned ballot is received. In the state of Virginia, you do not need to have a reason to request an absentee ballot.
*The photos and infographics in this article are courtesy of the Virginia Department of Elections.
Are you looking forward to participating in the big election this year? Do you have any Election Day traditions? Let us know in the comments!