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No excuses for not voting

There’s a lot at stake in the upcoming election, and thanks to new laws in Virginia, you can have your say earlier than in previous years. And there are ways to do it that help keep you safe in the midst of this pandemic.

In previous years, Virginia has had only absentee voting in person, absentee voting by mail or voting at your polling place on Election Day. In order to participate in either of the absentee voting options, you had to give a reason why you would not be able to go to your polling place on Election Day.

The allowed reasons were fairly numerous, so many people were able to take advantage of absentee voting at one point or another over the years. But still, if you didn’t fit into one of the categories, you were forced to brave the long lines on Election Day in order to cast your ballot.

This year, the laws have changed. You can still cast your ballot early, but you don’t need to provide an excuse for being absent from your polling place in order to do so. Otherwise, it’s the same process as it’s always been.

This change opens the door to a lot more people being able to cast their ballot early, and it comes at just the right time for the pandemic we are dealing with.

Early in-person voting continues through Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Isle of Wight Registrar’s Office, 17106 Monument Circle. Voters can cast their ballots from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on two Saturdays, Oct. 24 and 31.

Those who prefer to vote by mail can apply online and track your ballot by visiting https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation/Lookup/absentee. You may also call the registrar’s office to request an application by mail – (757) 365-6230 or request to have the Vote by Mail application emailed to you by sending an email to vote@iwus.net. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is Friday, October 23.

Your ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day or delivered by 7 p.m. on Election Day. You may mail your ballot or deliver your marked ballot to the General Registrar’s Office until 7 p.m. on Election Day.

No matter what names you’re marking on your ballot, it is important that you vote this year.

We encourage everyone to take advantage of early voting this year to help avoid the crowds on Election Day.