Photo ID Requirements
Virginia voters must show an approved form of valid photo identification, which include:
- A Virginia driver’s license or other ID issued by the DMV;
- A U.S. passport or other ID issued by the federal, Virginia, or local government;
- A tribal enrollment card issued by one of the 11 tribes recognized by Virginia;
- An employee ID card issued in the ordinary course of business;
- A military ID;
- A student ID issued by a Virginia institute of higher learning or public or private high school;
- A nursing home resident ID, if issued by a government facility;
- A free voter ID card issued by the Department of Elections.
A valid ID means that it is genuine, bears a photograph of the voter, and is not expired for more than 12 months.
If you do not have an acceptable form of photo ID, you can get a free voter ID card, for voting purposes only, from any registrar in the Commonwealth. Contact your local registrar for a schedule and locations where you can obtain the card. A list is available here. If you need a free voter ID card, we recommend that you get it as early as possible.
To register to vote
- You must be a United States citizen.
- You must be a resident of Virginia.
- You must be 18 or older on Election Day. If you are 17 years old, but will be 18 by the time of the general election, you will be allowed to register in advance.
- You must not currently be declared mentally incompetent by a court of law
If you’ve been convicted of a felony, your right to vote must have been restored. You may register to vote by mail. You may download the application here or you can pick one up at your local registrar’s office. You can find a list of offices here. You can also deliver the application to your local registrar’s office in person. Alternatively, you can register to vote online here.
Application deadlines are 22 days before a general or primary, 14 days before a special election, and 7 days before a special election called by the governor.
Check or Update Your Registration
You can check your voter registration status online by clicking here. If you have registered or updated your registration since the last election, you should check your registration to make sure all your information is up-to-date.
You can update your voter registration record online by clicking here or by resubmitting a completed Virginia Voter Registration Application to your local General Registrar. You can find a list of offices here.
If you need to update your voter registration, the deadlines are 22 days before a general or primary, 14 days before a special election, and 7 days before a special election called by the governor.
Check Your Polling Place
In order to have your vote counted in Virginia, you must vote at your correct polling place. If you’ve moved since the last election, you should also check the polling place where you’re registered to vote by clicking here. If you are confident you know where you’re registered, you can look up your polling place and your ballot here.
Voting Before Election Day
If you need to vote before Election Day, Virginia has an Absentee voting program. You may be eligible to vote Absentee By Mail or Absentee In Person if you have a qualifying reason.
Qualifying reasons are:
- You are a student, or spouse of a student, at an institution of higher learning outside of the locality where you are registered to vote in Virginia;
- You are absent for business purposes (includes persons who are employed outside of their locality);
- You are absent for personal business or vacation;
- You are working and commuting to/from home for 11 or more hours between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.;
- You are a firefighter or first responder personnel;
- You are unable to get to the polls because of disability, illness, or pregnancy;
- You are the personal caretaker of disabled/ill family members confined at home;
- You are awaiting trial and under confinement;
- You are serving time for misdemeanor convictions;
- You are a registrar, electoral board member, or officer of election scheduled to work on Election Day;
- You have religious obligations;
- You are an Active Duty Armed Forces or Merchant Marine personnel or a spouse or dependent residing with the Active Duty Armed Forces or Merchant Marine personnel;
- You are employed outside the U.S. or a spouse or dependent residing with the employee;
- You are living abroad indefinitely (may be eligible to vote only for federal offices);
- You are a political party or candidate representative volunteer scheduled to work inside the polls on Election Day.
Vote Absentee By Mail
In order to vote Absentee By Mail you have to apply to receive a ballot. You can get an application here to mail in or you can apply online here. Applications must be received by 5:00 pm the Tuesday before the election. Your completed ballot must be received by 7:00 pm on Election Day. You can find a list of offices here.
Vote Absentee In Person
Absentee In Person voting is available starting 45 days before the election and will ends 3 days before the election. Your local registrar’s office will have Absentee In Person voting during their office hours and some offices will also have satellite voting locations. You can check the schedule by calling your local registrar’s office, a list of offices here, or by visiting their website.
Information for Students
If you are a Virginia resident who attends school in-state, but in a different precinct, you can vote in the precinct where you live while attending school only if you change your registration. You can change your registration here.
If you’re a student from Virginia who attends school in another state, you should determine whether you’re a Virginia resident or a resident of the state where you attend school. The important thing to keep in mind is that you may only cast your vote in one state.
In accordance with the Help America Vote Act, Virginia is in the process of making all of its polling places accessible for all voters. However, if you’re concerned about your ability to get into the polling place, curbside voting is available for voters over the age of 65 or those with disabilities. If you choose to vote using this option, an election officer will bring voting equipment out to your car so you can vote. You also have the option of requesting an annual absentee ballot.
All polling places in Virginia are required by the Help America Vote Act to have at least one accessible voting machine, so that voters with disabilities are able to vote with the same private and independent manner as those without disabilities.
However, if you feel as though you require assistance with voting due to a physical disability or an inability to read or write, you can receive assistance if you request it.
If you have a cognitive disability, you can still register to vote provide you are not currently ruled to be mentally incompetent by a court of law.
If you have lost the right to vote as a result of a felony conviction in a Virginia court or a U.S. District court, you must have your rights restored to qualify for voter registration. The restoration of rights restores the rights to vote, to run for and hold public office, to serve on juries and to serve as a notary public.
If you have been convicted of any non-violent felonies and are currently incarcerated or on supervisory probation, your rights should be automatically restored once you meet the following criteria:
- Have completed serving the prison sentence and been released from supervised probation or parole;
- Have no pending felony charges.
Any individual that meets the criteria will be mailed a letter to either their last known address or their home address restoring their rights. If you have had a past non-violent felony conviction(s) and have not had your rights restored to date, you can submit an automatic restoration of rights request form either online or by mail to have your voting rights restored.
If you have been convicted of violent/more serious felonies in a Virginia court or a U.S. District court, you must complete an Application for Restoration of Rights in order to have your rights restored. A complete list of crimes that require an Application for Restoration of Rights is available here. In order to be eligible for restoration of rights by the Governor, an applicant who has been convicted of a violent/more serious felony must:
- Be free from any sentence served and/or supervised probation and parole for a minimum of three years.
- Not have any felony convictions in the three years immediately preceding the application and/or pending criminal charge
If you have been convicted a violent/more serious felony, you must complete an application and mail it to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office. You can download the Application for Restoration of Rights here or you may call the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth at 804-692-0104 and they will mail an application to you.
If you applied for your restoration of rights before January 2014 and your application was returned as ineligible due to an outstanding balance of court costs or fees, you should reapply as you might now be eligible due to a change to the law.
For more information on the Restoration of Rights, please visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website or contact the Restoration of Rights division at 804- 692-0104 or 1-855-575-9177.
Virginia voter information current as of February 22, 2016.