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Voting & Elections Toolkits

Voter Registration in Virginia

Eligibility

  • Age: At least 17 and turning 18 before Election Day.
  • If convicted of a felony, your right to vote must have been restored: https://www.restore.virginia.gov/
  • 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: https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation

 

More information: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/registration/how-to-register/

Deadline

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): https://www.elections.virginia.gov/citizen-portal/

Mail-in registration

Printable forms (in English,Spanish, Vietnamese, or Korean): https://www.elections.virginia.gov/registration/how-to-register/

Mail to your local registration office: https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation/PublicContactLookup

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 here: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/registration/voter-forms/        

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: https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation/PublicContactLookup

The form to turn in for cancelling registration: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/registration/voter-forms/cancel-registration.html/

 

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 here: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/registration/photo-ids-required-to-vote/

ID Requirements for Voting

 

More information: https://portal.ct.gov/SOTS/Election-Services/FAQ/FAQ---Voter-Identification

 

Where to get an ID

Free Voter Photo ID

Obtaining a Driver’s License

Casting a Ballot in Virginia

Important Dates

  • Primary Election: March 3, 2020. Deadline to register is February 10, 2020.
  • Town Elections: May 5, 2020. Deadline to register is April 13, 2020.
  • June Primary: June 9, 2020. Deadline to register is May 18, 2020.
  • General Election: November 3, 2020. Deadline to register is October 13, 2020.

 

For more information: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/calendars-schedules/upcoming-elections.html

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: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/military-overseas/

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: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/

Application for Absentee Ballot (English or Spanish): https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/formswarehouse/absentee-voting/applications/SBE-701-Absentee-Ballot-Application-Rev7-17-long.pdf

 

Polling places and hours

  • Use the Polling Place Locator to find your polling place: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/citizen-portal/
  • 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 (www.lyft.com) 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. 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.

Ballots

Where to get more info on candidates: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/candidatepac-info/

Sample ballots are given on the Board of Elections website a few weeks before each election: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/index.html

Elections

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.

Jurisdiction

Offices/Measures That May Appear on the Ballot

Federal (even years)

President/Vice-President (elected every four years; next election in 2020)

Senator (elected every six years for staggered terms; next election in 2020)

Representative (elected every two years)

State 

Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General (elected every four years; next election 2021).

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

Municipal 

School Board and other boards and commissions

Mayor or First Selectman

Town Clerk

Registrar of Voters

Tax Collector

Treasurer

Aldermen or Selectmen

Constable

Local ballot measures

Who are the candidates?

Candidate information may be found here: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/candidatepac-info/

 

Important Dates

  • Primary Election: March 3, 2020. Deadline to register is February 10, 2020.
  • Town Elections: May 5, 2020. Deadline to register is April 13, 2020.
  • June Primary: June 9, 2020. Deadline to register is May 18, 2020.
  • General Election: November 3, 2020. Deadline to register is October 13, 2020.
  • Early voting: Virginia does not allow early in-person voting.

 

Dates of municipal elections can be found here: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/calendars-schedules/

 

Who conducts elections?

  • The Virginia Commissioner of Elections and oversees statewide and local elections. More information here: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/contact-us/commissioner/
  • The Registrars of Voters maintains voter rolls for each municipality
  • Town Clerks prepare ballots and administer balloting for each municipality

Voter Bill of Rights

Virginia does not have a Voter Bill of Rights.

More information on voting rights and responsibilities from the Voter FAQ here: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/registration/election-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, visit: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/voter-complaints/

Campaign finance

The Virginia Department of Elections Campaign Finance (https://www.elections.virginia.gov/candidatepac-info/campaign-finance/) provides access to candidates’ election committee and Political Action Committee campaign finance filings

How to contact your elected officials:

Find your legislator:https://www.virginia.gov/services/whos-my-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


Hotlines


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

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)

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


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

Disclaimer

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.

These guides are designated with a Creative Commons license and re-use and modification for educational purposes is encouraged.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.