There are safe ways for you to vote in person. And it’s safest for your ballot to be cast by you – and you only – at your local polling station.
Early in-person voting in Virginia begins on Friday, September 18 and runs through Saturday, October 31. Check your County Office of Elections for polling locations and times of operation.
I serve regularly as an Election Officer, most recently during the June Primary, and can assure you that polling stations will have thorough cleaning procedures in place, as well as proper distancing between voters and election officials.
As you prepare to cast your vote, it is important to keep two other things in mind:
- If you already have an absentee ballot, but have not filled it out, you can take it to your polling station and vote a regular ballot.
- Do NOT use a Drop Box to submit your ballot!
Let me explain …..
Even if you have applied for and received an absentee ballot, you CAN vote in person at your polling station. If you are not comfortable going inside your polling station, you can request curbside service when you arrive there.
When a voter arrives at his/her polling station with his/her absentee ballot, the Chief Election Officer will check the poll book to verify that the person is registered to vote and that an absentee ballot was issued to that person. The Chief also will verify whether or not the ballot was returned to the Elections Office. If the absentee ballot was not returned, the voter will be asked to mark “Spoiled” across his/her ballot. That spoiled ballot will be placed in a special envelope by an Election Officer, and the voter will be issued a clean ballot.
DO NOT PLACE YOUR BALLOT IN A DROP BOX! Drop Boxes are a new invention by Virginia’s General Assembly. The legislation was signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam on September 4.
Drop boxes will be set up at polling stations and at other locations yet to be determined so that people can drop off their absentee ballots. Drop boxes circumvent the Postal Service. There will be no postmark on ballots placed in drop boxes, so there will be no way to determine if ballots met the 7 PM Election Day deadline for submission.
We’ve all heard stories about election results hanging in the balance for days while hundreds – perhaps thousands – of ballots are “found” in unexpected places like car trunks and cardboard boxes. Is this what will happen with Virginia’s November 3 election?
The ink is barely dry on Gov. Northam’s signature to legislation that creates drop boxes. This new law also allows for absentee ballots to be returned without a witness signature, which would have verified that the voter is who (s)he says (s)he is. And with no postmark required on absentee ballot return envelopes, well …. what could go wrong?
You see where these Election Law changes are heading.
Protect Your Vote! Protect Your Ballot! Vote In Person! Even if you already have an absentee ballot, take it with you to a polling station, void it, and then vote a new ballot. And if you don’t want to go inside the polling station, ask for curbside service.
Be a VIP! Vote In Person!