Stay Safe: Vote from Home

Posted on 05/21/20

election voting pins for 2020

Stay Safe: Vote from Home

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, elections must go on, and many people who are older or have underlying health conditions may be concerned about going to the polls to vote for their party’s nominee for Congress on June 23.

Not all parties are having primary elections in every district. Check online to find out if your party is having a primary in your area. Political parties may choose to nominate their candidates using a method other than a primary (convention, caucus, mass meeting, etc.). Non-primary methods of nomination occur between Thursday, April 23, 2020 and 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 9, 2020. Please contact the Party’s Congressional District/Local Chair in districts/localities where a primary was not requested for information on the party’s potential nominee or nominating event.

This is a comprehensive look at the various ways you can cast a ballot on June 23.

In Person

For Virginians who feel comfortable going to their polling place for the Primary Election on June 23, polls will be open. Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, and anyone still standing in line when the polls close at 7:00 p.m. will be permitted to cast a ballot. Find your polling place here. If you vote in person, please wear a mask or other face covering, observe social distancing, and use hand sanitizer/hand washing to stay safe.

By mail

For those concerned about being exposed to illness while voting in person, there are several ways to obtain a ballot. The Virginia Department of Elections encourages voters to protect their health during COVID-19 outbreak. The Department of Elections says voters may choose reason "2A My disability or illness" for requesting a ballot by mail for the June 2020 Primary Election due to COVID-19. Voters who choose this option should do so as soon as possible, so they can get their ballots in time to return them by mail by Election Day. The deadline to request a ballot is 5:00 p.m. on June 16.

No witness needed to vote by mail

For the June 23 Primary Election, Virginia has waived the requirement to have a witness for mailed ballots. The Department of Elections says if you believe you may not safely have a witness present while completing the ballot for the June 23, 2020 Primary Election, you are not required to have a witness present, and you may disregard the witness signature requirement.

Request a ballot online

The easiest way to request a ballot is online at the Department of Elections’ Citizen Portal. The portal can be used to update your registration, apply to vote absentee, and view your polling place, election district, absentee ballot status, and voting history. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is June 16.

Request a ballot by mail

For those who prefer to use the mail to request a ballot, there is a form available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean. The forms include information about where to send it, depending upon your location. You can also find your local voter registration office online. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is June 16.

Request a ballot by email

For those who prefer to use email to request a ballot, there is a form available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean. Download the form, fill it out, and email it to your local voter registration office. You can find the email address for your voter registration office online. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is June 16.

Request a ballot by fax

For those who prefer to use fax to request a ballot, there is a form available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean. Download the form, fill it out, and fax it to your local voter registration office. You can find the fax number for your voter registration office online. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is June 16.

Request a ballot in person

The Department of Elections says an application completed in person can be made up to three days before the election in which the applicant wishes to vote, and must be completed in the office of the local registrar. The applicant signs the application in the presence of a registrar or the secretary of the electoral board. Some large localities offer satellite locations for in-person absentee voting. Check with your local registrar for locations and times. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is June 16.

Registered voters who cast a ballot in advance in person are subject to the same rules that apply to voting at the polls. 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. This rule no longer applies after July 1. The requirement to show ID to vote in Virginia ends on June 30, 2020.

Request a ballot by phone

To request an application for a mail-in ballot be sent to you in the mail, contact your local registrar’s office. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is June 16. Make sure you request the application in time to receive the form and return it to the registrar, who will then mail your ballot to you. Mailed ballots must be received by the registrar by the June 23 Primary Election day.

Military and other Virginians overseas

There are special considerations for members of the military and other Virginians living overseas. Information is available on the Department of Elections website.

Accessible in-person voting

The Department of Elections says there is at least one voting booth accessible to voters with disabilities at each polling place. Voters with a disability should be able to vote in the same private and independent manner as a voter without a disability.

Virginia polling places, including in-person absentee voting locations, meet state and federal accessibility standards. According to the Department of Elections, you can find:

  • Accessible parking spaces
  • Curb where needed
  • Signs showing an accessible entrance and route in building
  • Accessible voting booth with chair
  • Seating available for voters waiting to vote
  • Sufficient space for voters in wheelchairs
  • Notepads available to communicate in writing
  • Magnifier for election material and the ballot

If you require assistance in reading or completing forms, please ask an election official to provide help. You may also bring your own helper. If you have a physical disability, help is available. Please ask an election officer for assistance you may need at any stage of the voting process. If you have questions, ask an election officer to explain your rights.
Curbside in-person voting

The Department of Elections says that if you are 65 or older, or have a physical disability, you may vote on Election Day without leaving your vehicle. This is called curbside voting. If you would like to use curbside voting, the Department of Elections says to remember to bring a helper with you who can enter the polling place to ask an election officer for curbside assistance.

Voter registration

The deadline to register to vote in the June 23 Primary Election is Tuesday, May 26. Here are the ways to register to vote:

· online at the Department of Elections Citizen Portal.

· in person at your local registrar’s office. If you aren’t registered to vote but want to vote by mail or in advance of the June 23 election, the Department of Elections says an applicant generally cannot both register to vote in person and cast a ballot in person at the same time. If you register to vote in person, your ballot cannot be issued until five days after you are registered. The only exception is absent military and overseas voters eligible under a federal law.

· by mail, email, or fax, by downloading an application in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, or Korean and sending it to your local registrar’s office.

For more information about voting in Virginia, check out the Department of Elections website, email the department at info@elections.virginia.gov, call toll free: (800) 552-9745, FAX (804) 371-0194, or TTY: 711.

This story is provided by AARP Virginia. Visit the AARP Virginia page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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You can find CDC’s latest coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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