Election 2020 FAQ


VOTE SAFELY, VOTE ABSENTEE, VOTE EARLY

Click here to view information for Virginia voters. 
Click here to view information for DC voters. 
Click here to view information for Maryland voters. 

Below is information for Virginia voters:

What are my voting options?
There are three ways to vote:

    • Absentee-by-mail voting in which an absentee ballot is requested, completed, and returned by noon on November 6.
    • Absentee in-person (or early) voting September 18 to October 31 at your local registrar’s office (check your city or county for voting hours).
    • In-person at your polling place on November 3, between 6am and 7pm.

Because of the pandemic, absentee-by-mail voting is recommended. To avoid delays in mail delivery, we recommend returning your completed ballot as soon as possible or using a secure drop box at your local registrar’s office.

Who can register to vote?
A person is eligible to register to vote if they are a U.S. citizen, a resident of Virginia, 18 years old or older, not registered in another state. Any person who is 17 years old and will be eighteen years of age by November 3 is permitted to register in advance. The deadline to register to vote is October 13.

How do I check my voter registration status?
You can check your voter registration status by going to: https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/voterinformation or calling 804-864-8901. If you have moved, you will need to update your registration with your current address.

Who can vote absentee?
Any registered voter can vote absentee for any reason. As of July 1, a new state law removed the requirement to cite an approved reason.

How do I get an absentee ballot?
Options:

      1. Apply online here.
      2. Download and complete a paper absentee application form, sign, and return to your local registrar’s office by mail, fax, or emailing a scanned attachment.
      3. Pick up a request form at your local registrar’s office.

What is the deadline for requesting a ballot?
The request for absentee ballot must be received by October 23, 2020. The completed ballot must be received by noon on November 6.

When will I get my ballot?
Starting in mid-September, local election officials will mail ballots to voters who requested them. Ballots will be mailed to voters in an envelope printed with a USPS tracking barcode, so you can track the status of your ballot.

Once you apply for a ballot by mail, your name is put on the by-mail list. Ii is expected that you will complete the ballot, seal it in the envelope, which you and a witness sign and date, and return it to the office, either by mail or in person.

Do I need to have a witness signature to my ballot?
No. A recent court decision has eliminated the witness requirement. However, after placing a marked ballot inside the provided return envelope, the envelope must be signed by the voter.

What if I change my mind and decide to vote in person?
If you decide to vote in person, you will need to return the unvoted ballot, have your name removed from the by-mail list, show ID to have your name put on the in-person list, be issued a new ballot, and vote. (If you don’t bring the ballot, you will be given a provisional ballot that will be counted after your original ballot is not received back voted.)

What about first-time voters?
First-time votes in a federal election must include a copy of a valid ID with their absentee ballot, or with the initial application for a ballot.

What about college student voters?
College students must declare their residence as Virginia to vote in person or by mail in the state. Click here for more information. Any college ID is acceptable.

How do I return my ballot?
You have several options:

  • Mail: voters are encouraged to mail ballots as soon as possible, or at least two weeks before the election (i.e., by October 19), to avoid predicted delays in the Postal Service. The VA Assembly recently approved prepaid postage for all mail-in ballots
  • Registrar’s Office: voters can visit their registrar’s office and hand in their ballot;
  • Drop-off Locations: jurisdictions have recently been mandated to have ballot drop-off locations at all early and Election Day voting precincts as an alternative to putting absentee ballots in the mail.

Because of the barcodes placed on mailed ballots, Virginia voters can go online and track the location of their mailed ballot.

The code specifies that the ballot must be either mailed or returned to the registrar’s office by the voter personally.

What is the deadline for returning my ballot?
Any mail ballot postmarked on or before Election Day will be accepted, as long as it is received by noon on the Friday after the election (November 6). A new regulation allows ballots received by noon of the Friday after the election, even if a postmark is missing or illegible.

If you have any questions, please visit the VA Department of Elections website  or call 804-864-8901.

You can also email trsvotes@templerodefshalom.org.

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