VOTING IN A PANDEMIC 

HOW TO DO IT IN VIRGINIA

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Deadlines

SEPTEMBER 18, 2020: Early in-person voting begins 

Henrico County will be open for early voting on the following Saturdays: October 10, 17, 24, and 31. Polls will open at 9 A.M. and close at 5 P.M. in the Eastern and Western Government Centers.

OCTOBER 13, 2020: Last day to register to vote 

OCTOBER 20, 2020: 15 days before election day and best time to mail in an absentee ballot

OCTOBER 23, 2020: Deadline to request an absentee ballot 

OCTOBER 31, 2020: Last day to vote early in-person 

NOVEMBER 3, 2020: Election day (polls open at 6 A.M., close at 7 P.M.)

How to register

Here is the link to register online as a voter in the state of Virginia. Remember, your last day to register is October 13, 2020. 

Here is the application form for an absentee ballot. After filling out this form, you must submit the request to your local election office - here is where you can find your local election office. If you are a first-time voter in your location, make sure to check in with a local election official to make sure you are eligible for voting absentee. Remember, your last day to request an absentee ballot is October 23, 2020.

How to vote early without usps

VOTE EARLY IN PERSON: Early in-person voting lets voters vote in person without the crowds or lines of Election Day. Some early in-person voting starts 45 days before the election and at least 41 states have this option. Some states have weekend early in-person voting options, as well. On this page, you can find out which polling places offer this option in Virginia. 

USE A BALLOT DROP BOX: Lots of state offer ballot drop boxes for people to drop their signed mail ballots in, meaning that voters utilizing this option can skip the mailing process entirely. This is extremely helpful in 2020, since getting ballots to mail on time is a big concern. You can check with your local election office for areas with ballot drop boxes. 

DROP OFF BALLOT AT A POLLING LOCATION/ELECTION OFFICE: Most states allow voters to return a ballot at their local election office. Since many citizens are not close to their election offices, you can also drop off your ballot at a polling location. Here is where you can find your polling location.

ORGANIZE COMMUNITY BALLOT COLLECTION: High-risk voters can use this option. Most states allow for a designated organization, election official or family member to collect a voter's signed and sealed ballot and submit said ballot on behalf of the voter. Here are ballot collection laws. 

What to bring to the polling location

Voting at a polling location early in-person or planning to do it on Election Day? Here's what you need. 

  • Photo Identification (examples include driver's license, United States passport, other photo identification issued by the state of Virginia or the United States, student identification issued by an institute of higher education in the United States, valid employee identification card, Virginia Voter photo identification,  copy of a bill, copy of a bank statement, copy of a government check, copy of a paycheck, tribal enrollment, tribal photo identification) 

  • FOR VOTERS WITHOUT PHOTO IDENTIFICATION: You will be required to sign a statement stating that you are the registered voter that you claim to be; if you do not have a form of identification at the time and cannot sign the statement, you will be provided a provisional ballot and election officials will instruct you how to submit a form of identification later so your vote can be counted

HOW TO PREVENT YOUR BALLOT FROM BEING REJECTED

So, what are the most common reasons for a mail-in ballot being rejected? A missing signature, an unverified signature or a delay in arrival. 

This means that you need to make sure you have signed everything that needs to be signed. Lots of mail-in ballots require witness signatures, too. Make sure that the witness checks the ballot thoroughly to ensure that they have not missed a signature, either. Also make sure that this witness is a registered voter to ensure that his, her, or their signature can be properly accounted for. 

Read the instructions thoroughly on your ballot. When it instructs for you to fill in an oval, that means fill in the oval. No X marks or check marks, no half-filled ovals. Making sure you have followed every set of instructions to the last word is key. 

Here is an article with more information about reasons mail-in ballots can be rejected and how to prevent yours from suffering that ending. 

Remember, send in your ballot early. In Virginia, sending it in by October 20 is ideal. If you are in another state, here is where you can check when to send in an absentee ballot. 

Here is a crucial site to visit to learn about your voting rights. We highly recommend you study this page thoroughly if you have the time or have it open whenever you are voting or checking whether your mail-in ballot was counted or not. This site also has valuable information for voters with disabilities, so please check it out if you are a voter with a disability or you plan to be assisting one. 

So, what happens if you are turned away at the polls? Some reasons you might be turned away include a lack of an appropriate identification, a voting record showing that you requested an absentee ballot even though you did not, an inaccurate or outdated voter registration card, a misspelled name on the voter registration roll, an incorrectly listed party at a primary, or a challenge to your eligibility to vote. 

You can request a provisional ballot if you believe you are a registered voter because of Section 302 of the Help America Vote Act.

 

If your state has same-day voter registration and you are not registered, you can register and then you will be offered a regular ballot. If you used a provisional ballot because you did not have a valid form of registration with you, you will need to present a valid form in a certain amount of time. Talk to the workers at your polling location to determine this time. 

If someone other than an election judge challenges your validity as a voter at the polls, the Judge of Election is the only one who can decide if you have proven your identity and/or residence, and whether the person challenging your validity has a reason for doing so. Even if this process cannot occur immediately, you can request a provisional ballot. 

You can find more information about how to protect your ballot here

WHO YOU ARE VOTING FOR 

PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 

Here is Joe Biden's agenda. 

Here is Kamala Harris' legislation history. She is running as Joe Biden's running mate, so you can study her history to better understand what a Biden-Harris administration would look like. 

Here is Donald Trump's agenda. 

Here is Mike Pence's legislation history. He is running as Donald Trump's running mate, so you can study his history to better understand what a second term of the Trump-Pence administration would look like. 

UNITED STATES SENATE 

Here is Mark Warner's legislation history. 

Here is Daniel Gade's website. Visit the "Principles" page to learn more about his agenda.

UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

Visit this document to learn if anyone is running in your district and if so, who is running.

happy voting!

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