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Voting & Elections Toolkits

Voting and advocacy resources by librarians for librarians

Voter Registration in Virginia


  • Age: At least 17 and turning 18 before Election Day.
  • If convicted of a felony, your right to vote must have been restored.
  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Residence: Must be a bona-fide resident of the Virginia town in which you are voting.
  • College students can either vote absentee in their home state or register to vote in VA.
  • Not currently declared mentally incompetent by a court of law.
  • Check to see if you are already registered.


For more information, please visit the Virginia Department of Elections.


  • Voter registration deadlines are determined by the date of the election.
  • Registration deadlines are generally 22 days prior to the election (both primary and general) and 14 days before a special election.
  • Guidelines
  • Election Calendar

Online registration

To use the online voter registration system you must have a current and valid driver’s license, learner’s permit or non-driver photo identification card issued by the VA Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and a signature on file with DMV. You must also provide your Social Security Number.

Online registration form (in English and Spanish).

Mail-in registration

Printable forms (in English,Spanish, Vietnamese, or Korean).

Mail to your local registration office.

Refer to the box below for information about ID requirements.

Choosing a political party: You may choose a political party affiliation when you register, but it is not required.   


A full list of all Virginia voting forms may be found at the Virginia Department of Elections.

Updating registration      

To update registration after a move, name change, or change of political party affiliation, use the voter registration form.

Cancelling registration

The Registrar of Voters in each town maintains the voter rolls. To remove someone from a voter roll, contact the local Registrar of Voters.

Directory of Registrars

The form to turn in for cancelling registration.


ID Requirements for Virginia Voters

ID Requirements for Registration

Online Registration

For online voter registration, a Virginia drivers license or state ID is required. Social Security Number must be provided.

Mail-in Registration

An ID is not required for mail-in registration, but you must provide one of the documents listed on the form to verify residence:

  • Driver’s license number, OR
  • You must present either a current and valid photo ID with your name and address, AND
  • Your Social Security Number.

If you cannot meet any of the above requirements, you may sign an affidavit and cast a provisional ballot subject to verification of your eligibility to vote.

More information may be found at the Virginia Department of Elections.

ID Requirements for Voting


  • One form of photo ID. A full list may be found here.
  • Anyone without an id on election day will cast a provisional ballot.

More information:


Where to get an ID

Free Voter Photo ID

Obtaining a Driver’s License

Casting a Ballot in Virginia

Important Dates

  • Presidential Primary Election: March 5, 2024. Early voting begins January 19, 2024. The deadline to register or update registration is February 12, 2024. 
  • Primary Elections: June 18, 2024. Early voting begins May 3, 2024. The deadline to register or update registration is May 28, 2024.
  • General and Special Elections: November 5, 2024. Early voting begins September 20, 2024. The deadline to register or update registration is October 15, 2024. 


For more information, please see the Upcoming Elections Calendar and the Schedule of General Elections 2022-2026.

Absentee voting

Apply In Person

  • Within 45 days prior to the election in which you wish to vote, visit your local registrar’s office to vote absentee in-person.
  • At the registrar’s office, fill out an Absentee Application. You must show an acceptable form of photo ID. To view a complete list of acceptable IDs, please visit our Voting In-Person page.
  • After completing the application, you will be allowed to vote absentee in-person using a voting machine in the registrar’s office. Accessible equipment and/or curbside voting is available upon request.

Apply by Mail, Fax, or Email

  • Download and complete the Absentee Ballot Application form (En Español) (Tiếng Việt) (한 국어)
  • Return the completed and signed form to your local registrar’s office by mail, fax or scanned attachment to an email. Contact information for your local general registrar’s office is available using our online lookup tool.
  • After the registrar processes your application, you will receive your ballot in the mail.
  • Carefully review the instructions to complete and return your ballot to your local registrar by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.
  • If you have a Virginia DMV license or ID card, you can register online using our OAB application.
  • In state elections only some first-time voters who registered by mail may vote absentee by mail only if the reason code is 1A, 2A, 2C, 3A, 3B, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, or 7A, or the voter is 65 or older and qualifies under another reason (reason codes listed here). For federal elections see section titled " **Special Federal ID Requirements for Certain First Time Absentee By Mail Voters."

Emergency Absentee Voting

Military voters and voters who reside outside the U.S.

  • Non-military overseas citizens who are not currently registered to vote in Virginia must ensure a completed FPCA is received by the local election office by close of business on the final day of registration for the election, generally 22 days before an election, in order to be eligible to vote. Non-military overseas voters who no longer have a Virginia place of abode, will receive ballots for federal offices only, unless overseas employment information is provided (a qualifying spouse or dependent would provide that employment information).
  • Active-duty uniformed-service voters, their spouses and dependents, may register to vote or update their voter registration by mail after the final day of registration using the FPCA, an FWAB, or the Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot applications approved by the State Board of Elections but must comply with the deadline for requesting ballots normally seven days before the election, with limited exceptions for emergencies. See Va. Code 24.2-41924.2-420.124.2-705 and 24.2-705.1. A Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) for a uniformed-service voter eligible for late registration, must be received at least seven days before the election in order for an official ballot to be sent by mail, email or fax. The FWAB may be used as backup if time is insufficient to receive and return an official ballot.

For more information regarding Military and Overseas Voting, please visit the Virginia Department of Elections.

Who is eligible to use an absentee ballot?

You must list one of the following codes on your registration form in order to be allowed to use an absentee ballot.

Application for Absentee Ballot (English or Spanish).


Polling places and hours

  • Use the Polling Place Locator to find your polling place.
  • For a general election or primary, polls in Virginia are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Time off to vote: Virginia does not require employers to give employees time off to vote.

Rides to the polls

Many organizations offer free rides to polling places. Some of these include:

  • Lyft provides free or discounted rides in some underserved communities.
  • Some churches arrange for rides to the polls for members and their families.
  • Political parties sometimes arrange rides for voters. Contact the local office:

Help for voters with disabilities

  • Virginia allows those who cannot leave their vehicle to curbside vote. Virginia Voter Registration Application includes a box allowing voters with physical disabilities to so indicate. Voters may communicate a request for curbside voting to election officials in advance
    of coming to the polling place. Voters may also bring a helper that can request an election officer's assistance.
  • If you have a permanent disability, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent absentee ballot from your Registrar.


To get more info on candidates, visit the Virginia Department of Elections.

Sample ballots are given on the Board of Elections website a few weeks before each election.


Primaries vs. general elections

  • Primary elections are conducted to select each party’s candidates in the general election.
  • In Virginia, a voter must be a member of a political party in order to vote in that party’s primary.
  • In a general election, voters are not required to have a party affiliation.


Offices/Measures That May Appear on the Ballot

Federal (even years)

President/Vice-President (elected every four years; next election in 2024)

Senator (elected every six years for staggered terms; next election in 2024)

Representative (elected every two years)


Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General (elected every four years; next election 2025).

Commonwealth Attorney, Commissioner or Revenue, State Treasurer, Sheriff (elected every four years; next election in 2023)

State Senator (elected every four years)

State Representative (elected every two years)

Statewide ballot measures


School Board and other boards and commissions

Mayor or First Selectman

Town Clerk

Registrar of Voters

Tax Collector


Aldermen or Selectmen


Local ballot measures

Who are the candidates?

Candidate information may be found at the Virginia Department of Elections.


Important Dates

  • Primary Election: June 18, 2024.  The deadline to register is May 28, 2024.
  • General Election: November 5, 2024. Early voting begins Friday, September 20, 2024. The deadline to register is October 15, 2024. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is October 25, 2024.
  • Early voting can be done in person 45 days before Election Day and ending the Saturday before Election Day, at the voter's local registrar’s office.


Dates of municipal elections can be found in the Calendars and Schedules of Elections in Virginia.


Who conducts elections?

  • The Virginia Commissioner of Elections and oversees statewide and local elections.
  • The Registrars of Voters maintains voter rolls for each municipality
  • Town Clerks prepare ballots and administer balloting for each municipality

Voter Bill of Rights

The Virginia Voting Rights Act was passed in 2021 and is modeled after the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, Title 24.2. Elections, Chapter 1.1. Rights of Voters (§ 24.2-125-131)

More information on voting rights and responsibilities can be found using the Voter FAQ.


Where to go with complaints about candidates or how elections are conducted

The Virginia Department of Elections administers a formal grievance process under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) for voters who believe their voting rights have been violated. For more information, and the online complaint form, please visit the Virginia Department of Elections.

Campaign finance

The Virginia Department of Elections Campaign Finance provides access to candidates’ election committee and Political Action Committee campaign finance filings

How to contact your elected officials:

Find your legislator

Most counties and cities in Virginia list their elected officials on their internet pages. 


General Resources on Voting and Elections

General Resources on Voting and Elections

Election Protection Hotlines

1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) (en Español)

1-888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) (Asian multilingual assistance)

1-844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287) (Arabic)

Voter Registration & Election Day Resources

Find useful voter information including:

  • Local Election Office and Contact Information
  • Address, Telephone and Email for Local Election Offices
  • Upcoming Federal Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming State Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Identification Requirements
  • Voter Materials Transmission Options
  • State Lookup Tools – Am I Registered? Where’s my Ballot?

Population-Specific information and Resources

Voting Rights: Laws, Cases, Policy

Voter Engagement

Voter Education

Campaign Finance/Funding Information

Primary Sources, Lesson Plans & Exhibits


Librarians from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), created these reference guides. These guides are intended for informational purposes only and are not in any way intended to be legal advice.

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