Today is National Voter Registration Day. What’s that you say? Voter registration is a last year thing? Not quite. Even though there aren’t any national issues involved, there will still be elections held this November. Elections that will affect state and local issues. For example, in Virginia we will be electing a new governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. In addition, every seat in the House of Delegates is up for grabs. To that end, we still recognize National Voter Registration Day. It is a day to celebrate democracy, a day to celebrate access to a basic right we have as American citizens, the right to cast a ballot for the candidate of our choice. If, for some reason, you aren’t registered to vote you can go to National Voter Registration Day to learn the law in your home state.
If you’ve recently moved to Virginia and would like to vote here in the upcoming general election it’s not too late. Virginia residents have until Tuesday, October 12th at 5:00 p.m. to register to vote in the upcoming general election. You can register online, through the mail, or in person. Visit Virginia Department of Elections website for more information. Voting in Virginia is easy. In the 2020 Special Session, Virginia changed the law to allow for “no-excuse” absentee voting. A request an absentee ballot can be made by mail, fax, or email but it has to be received by the local registrar of elections by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 22d. An in-person request for an absentee ballot must be made by Saturday, October 31st. Once the voter receives the ballot they must read all of the instructions that accompany it. It’s not a simple matter of checking a box! There are specific instructions on signing and placing the ballot in the provided envelope. If you are a first-time absentee voter, you might also have to send in a copy of some form of identification. Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-707. Your mailed in vote has to be postmarked on or before November 2d and must be received by the local registrar of elections by noon on November 5th. Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-709.
If you don’t want to bother with an absentee ballot, voting in person is equally easy. In fact, early voting in Virginia has already begun. Early voting began on Friday, September 17th and continues until Saturday, October 30th at 5:00 p.m. BUT you can’t vote every Saturday. Early voting is held at the city or county office of the Registrar of Elections during normal business hours. That means between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Virginia Code Section 24.2-701.1 mandates that the Registrar’s office be open from 8:309 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. the two Saturdays before the General Election