By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: October 16, 2019 | 12:30 p.m.
Foot traffic increasing at local offices ahead of Nov. 5 election
VIRGINIA – While temperatures hovered near the century mark for much of last week, it doesn’t change the fact that the Fall season has arrived and one of the staples of the season, the November general election is on the mind of local election officials and voters alike as absentee voting has begun across the Commonwealth.
Beginning late last month, local registrar’s offices began accepting absentee ballots and requests for ballots to be mailed to voters as the window for the voting period opens 45 days prior to Election Day on November 5. This year will mark the final year where an excuse is required in order to cast an absentee ballot during the 45-day window as, during this year’s General Assembly session, voters in 2020’s election will be able to vote absentee without an excuse from October 24 through October 31.
For all of this year and the majority of upcoming elections in years going forward, voters will have to present a reason as to why they will not be able to cast a ballot on November 5 at their precinct. According to the Virginia Department of Elections, those reasons can include students who are attending a college or university outside of their locality or those who would be working or commuting during the time the polls are open, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, with voters being required to provide supporting information, such as the name of the university or college they are attending or the name of the business and their working and/or commuting hours.
Some others require no supporting information to be provided, such as those who are first responders, disabled, ill, or pregnant, and those who may have a religious obligation that would keep them away from the polls on Election Day. A listing of the state’s nearly two dozen reason codes for absentee voting is available on the Virginia Department of Elections website at http://elections.virginia.gov.
After confirming your registration status either by checking online or contacting your local registrar’s office, voters can then complete an absentee application, where they will be asked an acceptable form of photo ID, such as a Virginia Driver’s License, ID card, or Veteran’s ID, a United States passport, or valid Virginia school, college, or university student ID that features a photo, among others, as part of the process before being allowed to vote absentee in-person using a voting machine at their local office, with “Accessible equipment and/or curbside voting is available upon request,” officials confirmed.
Those requesting a ballot to mailed to them can download the absentee ballot application form from their website and return it signed to their local office and a ballot will be provided to them by mail. That ballot has to be returned to their local registrar by 7 p.m. on Election Day. The same reason code requirements stand for both in-person and mailed absentee voting.
Election officials note for those who aren’t registered to vote but seek to do so when they cast their absentee ballot, “An applicant generally cannot both register to vote in person and vote absentee in person at the same time.”
“If you register to vote in person, your absentee ballot cannot be issued until five days after you are registered,” they detailed. “The only exception is absent military and overseas voters eligible under a federal law.”
In addition, state election officials stress that the same rules detailed for those voting at the polls apply to those are voting absentee.
“If acceptable identification is not provided, a provisional ballot will be offered and the voter is allowed until the following Friday by noon after the election to provide a copy of acceptable identification to the electoral board. Provisional voters receive a notice to remind them of the deadline and right to attend the electoral board meeting,” they said.
For questions about absentee voting, contact your local registrar’s office or visit the state’s department of elections web portal.
Prince George County Registrar’s Office
6602 Courts Drive
Prince George, Virginia 23875
Registrar: Allan Richeson
Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
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