Early voting for presidential primary now underway in Virginia

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Early voting for the March 5 Virginia presidential primary began Friday, January 19. Virginia will have a dual presidential primary election, which means both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party will have primaries on the same day.

In a dual primary, officers of election will ask voters if they want to cast their ballot in the Democratic Party primary or the Republican Party primary. All qualified voters may vote in either primary, but voters may not vote in both primaries.

The choice to vote in a party’s primary does not mean that the voter will be “registered” with that party, according to a Virginia Department of Elections news release. Virginia does not have party registration. 

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Six candidates will appear on the Republican primary ballot: Chris Christie, Ryan L. Binkley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Donald J. Trump, Ron D. DeSantis, and Nikki R. Haley. 

Three candidates will appear on the Democratic primary ballot: Marianne Williamson, Joseph R. Biden Jr and Dean Benson Phillips.

In-person early voting for the March 5 presidential primary election begins Friday, Jan. 19 and will continue through Saturday, March 2. To vote early in-person, registered voters should go to the general registrar’s office for the jurisdiction in which they are registered, present their ID, and cast their ballot, the news release states. The location of the general registrar’s office for all jurisdictions can be found on the Virginia Department of Elections’ website (https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation/PublicContactLookup) as well as a list of acceptable forms of identification (https://www.elections.virginia.gov/registration/voterid/index.html).

Some jurisdictions may offer early in-person voting at both the general registrar’s office and satellite locations. Curbside voting is also available for those with disabilities and anyone over 65. Contact your general registrar’s office for more information regarding voting hours and additional locations.

Requested absentee ballots will be mailed beginning Jan. 19, including ballots to registered military and overseas voters. Any registered voter can request an absentee ballot either in-person, by mail, online (https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation/Lookup/absentee) or by contacting your general registrar’s office. Registered voters do not need a reason to request an absentee ballot, according to the news release

In order to return a voted ballot, voters can drop off their absentee ballot at the general registrar’s office or polling location on Election Day. Absentee ballots returned by mail must be postmarked on or before March 5 and received by the general registrar before noon Friday, March 8.

Anyone with visual or manual dexterity impairment has the option to vote an absentee ballot using an electronic marking tool. The deadline to register to vote and cast a regular ballot is Feb. 12. After that date, voters will have to use same-day registration and vote a provisional ballot. The deadline to apply for a mailed ballot is Feb. 23.

Voters with questions about absentee and early in-person voting should contact their general registrar’s office or the Virginia Department of Elections by phone at 1-800-552-9745 or by email at info@elections.virginia.gov.  For more information, voters are encouraged to visit the Virginia Department of Elections website at www.elections.virginia.gov.