Early voting starts Sept. 22; what you need to know
Published 12:37 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2023
This week, Isle of Wight and Surry County voters can start casting ballots for this year’s local and state elections.
Early in-person voting at each locality’s registrar’s office begins Sept. 22. Since 2020, Virginia has offered “no excuse” early voting, meaning voters no longer need to state their reason for voting early to receive a ballot.
The Isle of Wight County registrar’s office, located in its own building at 17106 Monument Circle, will be open for early voting from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday from Sept. 22 through Nov. 3, and on Saturdays on Oct. 28 and Nov. 4.
Surry’s registrar’s office, located inside the county’s government and courts complex at 45 School St., will open on the same dates for early voting from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
How to vote early
According to the Virginia Department of Elections, no application is required to vote early, but state law requires voters to provide some form of identification, or sign what’s known as an ID confirmation statement.
Acceptable forms of ID include a valid or expired Virginia driver’s license, valid U.S. passport, college or Virginia high school ID, or employee ID containing a photo of the voter. For those without a photo ID, a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement or government check addressed to the voter is acceptable. A complete list of acceptable forms of ID is available at https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/formswarehouse/voter-id/outreach-materials/documents/Voter-Identification-Chart-Rev-4-28-21.pdf.
Voters without any form of ID and who don’t sign an ID confirmation statement have the option of casting a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots will be counted once the voter provides at a later date either one of the acceptable forms of identification or signs an ID confirmation statement. Voters who cast provisional ballots have until noon on the Friday following the Nov. 7 election to do so.
What about absentee ballots?
Voters who want a ballot mailed to them can apply online to vote absentee by filling out the form at https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation.
According to the Department of Elections, registrars will start mailing ballots by the end of this week to voters who have applied to vote absentee by mail. As with in-person early voting, voters no longer need to state a reason for requesting an absentee ballot.
Those who apply for an absentee mail-in ballot after Sept. 22 should see their application processed within three days. The date of the ballot’s arrival at a voter’s residence may depend on the U.S. Postal Service.
The last day to apply for an absentee mail-in ballot is Oct. 27 by 5 p.m.
Absentee voters can return their completed ballot by mail or personally deliver it to the registrar’s office. Absentee ballots must be postmarked or returned in-person to the registrar’s office by 7 p.m. on Nov. 7.
For voters who require assistance filling out their ballots, the absentee ballot mailed to them will include a form for an assistant to sign. Voters who require help also have the option of taking their ballot to the registrar’s office and receiving on-site assistance.
Voters who apply for an absentee ballot but choose to vote in person instead should return the unopened mail-in ballot when they go to vote.
Members of the military or overseas citizens registered to vote in Virginia can apply for an absentee ballot using the state process or the federal postcard application at www.fvap.gov. Any overseas U.S. citizen who claims a residence in Virginia, or whose last U.S. address was in Virginia, can vote in the general election.