How to Vote Absentee

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VIRGINIA VOTER HOTLINE
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Voting in Virginia is easy and convenient.  There are two ways to vote early in Virginia—voting early in person and voting by mail.  Any registered Virginia voter may cast a vote early, with no excuse required.

Voting Early In Person:

Early in person voting is available on Monday through Friday in every locality, starting as early as Friday, September 18th through Friday, October 30st.  Additionally, every locality has early voting on Saturday, October 24th and Saturday, October 31st.  Localities may establish additional times for early voting as well. To find your early in person voting location and hours, visit www.iwillvote.com/VA.

Voting By Mail:

Step 1: Applying for a Vote By Mail Ballot:

To vote by mail, a Virginia voter must submit an application for a vote by mail ballot to the local registrar.  The last day to send in an application to vote by mail is Friday, October 23.  

I HAVE A VIRGINIA DRIVER’S LICENSE OR IDENTIFICATION CARD

You can request a vote by mail entirely online. Please click here to request your vote by mail ballot.

I DO NOT HAVE A VIRGINIA DRIVER’S LICENSE OR IDENTIFICATION CARD

You must complete the PDF application and email, fax, hand-deliver, or mail it to your Registrar. You can e-sign your application and email it to your Registrar rather than print it out and sign it with a pen. You can also take a picture of your printed and signed application and email it to your Registrar. Make sure the picture is clear!

Step 2: Complete the Vote By Mail Ballot:

The local registrar will begin sending vote by mail ballots to registered voters who have completed applications on or around Friday, September 18th.  Once you receive the vote by mail ballot, please read all the instructions to fill out the ballot, complete the ballot and ballot envelope, and return the ballot as soon as possible.  It is particularly important that you complete the entire ballot envelope (“Envelope B”) by filling out your full name, filling out your address, and signing the ballot envelope.  Note also that Virginia no longer requires a witness signature on ballot envelopes.  

Step 3: Return Your Vote By Mail Ballot:

There are multiple ways to return the vote by mail ballot: 

  • You can return the ballot by mail.  The ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day, November 3, and delivered to the registrar’s office before noon on Friday, November 6th.  Postage on the return envelope is prepaid.
  • You can return the ballot by hand.  The ballot can be delivered to the general registrar’s office, to an early in person voting location, or to any Election Day voting precinct in your locality.  To find Election Day precincts or in person early voting locations in your locality, visit www.iwillvote.com. We strongly recommend hand delivery of vote by mail ballots after October 9th, if possible.

IMPORTANT DATES

  • Start of In Person Early Voting
  • Deadline to Register to Vote
    • Thursday, October 15
      • In-Person: 5:00 PM
      • Online: 11:59 PM
      • Postmarked by October 15
    • Visit www.iwillvote.com/va to register
  • Deadline to Request a Vote By Mail Ballot
    • Friday, October 23 at 5:00 PM
    • Request a vote by mail ballot at www.iwillvote.com/VA
  • Last Day of In Person Early Voting
  • Deadline to Return Your Vote By Mail Ballot
    • Your ballot must be postmarked by Tuesday, November 3 (Election Day) and received by your Registrar by Friday, November 6 at Noon.  
    • You can also hand deliver your vote by mail ballot to your general registrar’s office, to any in-person early voting location in your locality, a drop off box, or to any Election Day precinct in your locality.  Visit www.iwillvote.com/va to find vote by mail hand delivery locations.  
    • We recommend hand delivery of your vote by mail ballot after October 9, 2020.
  •  

FAQS ABOUT ABSENTEE BY-MAIL VOTING

Do I need an excuse to request a vote by mail ballot?

Not anymore! The General Assembly removed the excuse requirement for early voting.

Can I request a vote by mail ballot for November right now?

Yes! You can request a vote by mail ballot be mailed to you for the November Election right now.  Visit www.iwillvote.com to request a vote by mail ballot.

What are the most frequent reasons for disqualification of mail in vote by mail ballots?  

The most frequent reason for the disqualification of absentee ballots from the June 2020 primary was that the ballots were submitted late.  Vote by mail ballots may also be disqualified for failure to complete the ballot envelopes. Registrars will contact voters if deficiencies occur on vote by mail ballot envelopes (e.g., missing signature) to give voters the opportunity to fix them. 

What if I requested a vote by mail ballot but now want to vote in person?  

No problem!  If you bring your vote by mail ballot and ballot envelope to your in person voting location (either early or on Election Day), you can trade them in for a regular ballot.  If you do not have your mailed ballot and/or ballot envelope, you can cast a provisional ballot in person. The registrar will automatically count this provisional ballot after confirming you did not also cast a vote by mail ballot.

Do I need a photo ID to vote early in person?

You’ll be asked to show ID, but you do not need a photo ID to vote. To cast a regular ballot, you must either: 1) provide an acceptable ID; or 2) sign an ID confirmation statement attesting to your identity.  The list of acceptable ID includes: 1) Federal, state, or locally issued ID; 2) Student ID; 3) Employer ID; and 4) Current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document containing your name and address.

What do I have to do if I am a first time voter?

Make sure you are registered to vote at www.iwillvote.com.  We recommend that you vote early in person if possible.  You can find you early in person voting locations at www.iwillvote.com/va

Special requirements may apply to first time vote by mail voters.  If you registered to vote in Virginia by mail, federal law requires you to show ID when voting for the first time in a federal election if you did not send a copy of one of these IDs with your voter registration applications. The special federal ID requirements only apply to certain vote by mail voters who will be notified by a notice explaining the requirements sent with their vote by mail ballot. Voters who receive a notice about this special requirements need to include a copy of any of the following types of ID with the voted ballot:

  1. A current and valid photo ID (for example, a driver’s license); or
  2.  current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck that shows name and address; or
  3. Another government document that shows name and address (for example, a voter card). If the voter returns a vote by mail ballot by mail without a copy of one of these forms of ID, the vote by mail ballot will be counted only if the voter provides a copy of ID to the electoral board by noon on November 6th.

Step by step guide on requesting an absentee by-mail ballot


More information about Absentee Voting

Absentee Voting | Virginia Department of Elections

If you can not make it to your polling place on Election Day, you have other options which include voting absentee by mail or in person. Military and Overseas Voters also have mail-in options.