Early voting: what you need to know

Published 5:08 pm Friday, September 23, 2022

Sept. 23 marked the first day of in-person early voting in Virginia. Through Nov. 5, registered Isle of Wight and Surry county voters have the option of avoiding lines at the polls by traveling to their respective voter registrar’s office to cast  their ballots ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Where do I go to vote early?

The Isle of Wight County Voter Registrar’s Office is located at 17106 Monument Circle in its own detached building. The office is open 9 a.m. through 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and will be open for Saturday voting on Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, also from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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The Surry County Voter Registrar’s Office is located inside the county’s government and courts complex at 45 School St. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The office will be open for Saturday voting on Oct. 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What do I need to bring?

The registrar’s staff may ask you to state your full legal name and current address. You no longer need to declare a reason for voting early in Virginia, but are still required to bring one of the following forms of identification:

  • Your voter confirmation documents
  • Your Virginia driver’s license
  • Your Virginia DMV-issued photo ID
  • Your U.S. passport
  • Your employer-issued photo ID
  • Any other U.S. or Virginia government-issued photo ID
  • Your voter ID card issued by the Virginia Department of Elections
  • A valid student photo ID, issued by a public or private school of higher education located in the U.S.
  • A valid student ID issued by a public or private high school in Virginia
  • A current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck containing your name and address
  • Any other current government document containing your name and address
  • A signed ID confirmation statement

All acceptable forms of photo ID can be used up to a year after the ID has expired. If you do not have any of the accepted forms of ID on you when you vote, you can sign an ID statement affirming your identity or vote a provisional ballot.

Can I vote by mail?

Virginia offers no-excuse absentee ballots, meaning you don’t need to declare a reason for requesting to vote by mail. To request an absentee ballot, you can pick up a Virginia absentee ballot application form at your local registrar’s office, or apply online at vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation. 

You can apply to vote absentee for all future elections or just one election.

The deadline to apply for a mail-in absentee ballot is 5 p.m. Oct. 28.

You can track your ballot by filling out the form on Ballot Scout at app.ballotscout.org/virginia/search/state.

Absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 8 and must be received by your registrar’s office by noon on Nov. 11 to be counted.

You have the option of returning your completed absentee ballot in-person at your registrar’s office by 7 p.m. the day of the election.

What if I’m not registered?

If you’re a first-time voter or have moved or changed your legal name, you’ll need to register to vote. You can check your registration status online at vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation/Lookup/status.

To vote in this fall’s election, the deadline to register is Oct. 17 by 5 p.m. if registering in person or by mail, and 11:59 p.m. if registering online.

To register, pickup a Virginia voter registration application at your local registrar’s office or go to vote.elections.virginia.gov/Registration/DmvLookup to register online. Voter registration applications are also available at any Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles customer service center.

To register, you must be a United States citizen, be a resident of Virginia, and be at least 18 years old by Nov. 8. Those convicted of a felony or declared mentally incapacitated must have their rights restored prior to registering.

Once the registrar receives your completed application it will be reviewed and, if everything is filled out properly, a voter card will be mailed to you. The card will have your name, address and the name and address of your polling place, and the election district in which you are eligible to vote.