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Coronavirus, New Voting Laws: A Virginia Voter's Guide

'I Voted' Stickers on table
While more Virginians than ever before will vote absentee this year, many will be relieved to know that some counties are including 'I Voted' stickers with mail ballots. (Photo: Alex Scribner/VPM News)

*Connor Scribner reported this story.

The process of voting will be, like so much of life, radically different for many Virginians this year. 

With the coronavirus making in-person voting a riskier option, new laws were passed to make it easier to vote absentee.

In February, the Virginia General Assembly passed a bill allowing all registered voters in the commonwealth to vote absentee without an excuse like illness or travel. Residents may vote absentee by mail or through early, in-person voting. The law, passed before Gov. Ralph Northam enacted provisions to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, will remain in place for future elections.

Additionally, lawmakers addressed absentee voting during the special session that began in August. For the November election only, voters who do not wish to return their absentee ballots via mail will also have the option of returning them to designated drop-off locations. Information on ballot drop-off boxes can be found on the website for each registrar.

The assembly also appropriated funds for localities to provide paid postage on all absentee ballots. This will only apply to the upcoming election, though it may soon become law going forward.

Voters still need to apply to vote absentee and can track their ballot using Ballot Scout. If they later change their mind and wish to vote in person, either early or on election day, they must bring the absentee ballot with them. 

And if a voter has lost their ballot, they can get a provisional one at the polls, which will be counted once elections officials confirm that the original ballot was not returned. 

Those looking to vote early may do so at their local registrar’s office during open hours or on the two Saturdays directly preceding the election. Some localities opened additional locations for early voting.

In-person voters, both early and on election day, must bring  an approved form of identification. Those who arrive without proper ID may request to fill out a provisional ballot.

Dates to remember:

Last day to register to vote: Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Last day to request an absentee ballot: Friday, October 23, 2020 by 5 p.m.

Last day for in-person early voting: Saturday, October 31, 2020

Election Day: Tuesday, November 3, 2020 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Absentee ballots must be postmarked by November 3 and received by November 6, 2020

In addition to the presidential election, voters statewide will cast their ballots for the United States Senate, the House of Representatives and two amendments to the Virginia Constitution.

The first proposed amendment would revoke the power to draw voting district lines from the Virginia General Assembly and assign it to a commission made up of legislators and citizens. Members of the commission would be equally nominated by Democrats and Republicans.

Maps approved by a two-thirds supermajority of the commission will be sent to the General Assembly for a vote to implement without modification. District lines will not be subject to the governor’s approval. If the commission or the assembly fail to meet their deadlines, the Supreme Court of Virginia will draw the districts.

The proposal has become the subject of infighting for the Democratic party. Party members in favor of the amendment argue that it will alleviate partisan gerrymandering while others raise concerns that the commission won’t represent people of color

A ‘yes’ vote on question one is a vote in favor of adopting the commission.

The second proposed amendment would allow veterans of the United States armed forces or Virginia National guard who have a 100% permanent and total disability rating to exempt one motor vehicle from state and local taxation. A ‘yes’ vote on question two is a vote in favor of the exception. 

Voters are encouraged to cast absentee ballots, but may vote in person on November 3 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at their assigned polling location. If you don’t know where to vote, you can visit the Virginia Department of Elections website. Those planning to vote in person are asked to wear masks. The number of voters allowed inside of a polling location at one time may be limited to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

*This article will be updated until after the election.

Central Virginia Localities’ Registrar Information:

Albemarle County:
1600 5th St
Charlottesville, VA 22902
434-972-4173
https://www.albemarle.org/government/elections

Amelia County:
9127 Washington St
Amelia Court House, VA 23002
804-561-3460
http://ameliacova.com/your_government/voter_registration.php

Amherst County:
113 Taylor St
Amherst, VA 24521
434-946-9315
https://www.countyofamherst.com/department/index.php?structureid=10

Appomattox County:
367 Virginia Ave
Appomattox, VA 24522
434-352-5302
https://www.appomattoxcountyva.gov/your-government/departments/voter-registrar

Buckingham County:
13360 W James Anderson Hwy
Buckingham, VA 23921
434-969-4304
http://www.buckinghamcountyva.org/registrar.html

Campbell County:
41 Courthouse Ln
Rustburg, VA 24588
434-332-9579
http://www.co.campbell.va.us/297/Voter-Registration

City of Charlottesville:
120 7th ST NE
City Hall Annex, Room 142
Charlottesville, VA 22902
434-970-3250
http://www.charlottesville.gov/vote

Chesterfield County:
9848 Lori Rd
Chesterfield, VA 23832
804-748-1471
https://www.chesterfield.gov/registrar

City of Colonial Heights:
201 James Ave
Colonial Heights, VA 23834
804-520-9277
https://www.colonialheightsva.gov/265/RegistrarDirector-of-Elections

Cumberland County:
1487 Anderson Hwy
Cumberland, VA 23040
804-492-4504
https://cumberlandcounty.virginia.gov/registrar

Dinwiddie County:
14016 Boydton Plank Rd
Dinwiddie, VA 23841
804-469-4500 ext. 2113
https://www.dinwiddieva.us/185/Voter-Registration

Fluvanna County:
265 Turkeysag Trl, Suite 115
Palmyra, VA 22963
434-589-3593
https://www.fluvannacounty.org/registrar

Goochland County:
1876 Sandy Hook Rd
Goochland, VA 23063
804-556-5803
https://www.goochlandva.us/359/Voter-Registration-Elections

Greene County:
32 Stanard St
Stanardsville, VA 22973
434-985-5213
https://www.greenecountyva.gov/government/depts/voter-registration

Hanover County:
7497 County Complex Rd, Room 119
Hanover, VA 23069
804-365-6080
https://www.hanovercounty.gov/361/Voter-Registration-Elections-Office

City of Harrisonbug:
409 S Main St
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
540-432-7707
https://www.harrisonburgva.gov/registrar

Henrico County:
4305 E PARHAM RD
ADMIN ANNEX 105
HENRICO, VA 23228
804-501-4347
http://henrico.us/registrar/

City of Hopewell:
106 N Main St
Hopewell, VA 23860
804-541-2232 ext. 630
https://hopewellva.gov/director-of-elections-general-registrar/

Louisa County:
1 Woolfolk Ave
Louisa, VA 23093
540-967-3427
https://www.louisacounty.com/453/Voter-Registration

Madison County:
302 Thrift Rd
Madison, VA 22727
540-948-6533
https://www.madisonco.virginia.gov/registrar

Nelson County:
571 Front ST
Lovingston, VA 22949
434-263-7190
http://www.nelsoncounty-va.gov/government/registrar/

Nottoway County:
507 Miller St
Burkeville, VA 23922
434-767-2135
https://nottoway.org/government/county/departments/voter-registration/

Orange County:
146 N Madison Rd Ste 204
Orange, VA 22960
540-672-5262
http://orangecountyva.gov/index.aspx?nid=354

City of Petersburg:
229 N Market St
Petersburg, VA 23803
804-733-8071
http://www.petersburg-va.org/152/Voter-Registrar

Powhatan County:
3910 Old Buckingham Rd Ste E
Powhatan, VA 23139
804-598-5604
http://www.powhatanva.gov/310/Voter-Registrar

Prince Edward County:
124 N. Main Street, 2nd Floor
Farmville, VA 23901
434-392-4767
https://www.co.prince-edward.va.us/departments/voter-registrar

Prince George County:
6602 Courts Dr, Suite 243
Prince George, VA 23875
804-722-8748
https://www.princegeorgecountyva.gov/departments/registrar_s_office/index.php

City of Richmond:
2134 W Laburnum Ave
Richmond, VA 23227
804-646-5950
http://www.richmondgov.com/Registrar/index.aspx

Sussex County:
15080 Courthouse Rd
Stony Creek, VA 2388
434-246-1047
https://www.sussexcountyva.gov/departments/general-registrar/