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“Voting matters… Our democracy is at stake.” “One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.” Barack Obama
Our vote is our voice, but it is only heard when we vote. Here, we make it quick and easy to manage all your voting. Just click to register to vote, update your address, verify your polling place, see what’s on your ballot or get easy-to understand information on voting topics below, some hard to find anywhere else.
As Democrats, we want every citizen to vote in every election so democracy works for us all.
VOTING: What You Need to Know (Summary)
VOTE EARLY (In-Person Absentee) when it’s most convenient for you!
Updated June 10, 2020 for the June primary election.
Due to COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Elections allows any registered voter to vote early in-person or by mail using Reason Code 2A (your illness or disability).
FAIRFAX COUNTY For the June Congressional Primary, early in-person voting is only available at the Fairfax Government Center, 12000 Government Center Pkwy, Conf Rm 2-3, at these times:
Monday – Friday, through June 19, 8:00am – 4:30pm
Saturday, June 13 and June 20, 9:00am – 5:00pm
Other Northern Virginia Counties and Cities
Vote in the County or City where you are registered. Check with them directly for times & locations for in-person voting, or click here for vote-by-mail information.
LOUDOUN COUNTY (www.loudoun.gov/vote, 703-777-0380)
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY (www.pwcvotes.com, 703-792-6470)
FALLS CHURCH CITY (fallschurchva.gov, 703-248-5085) City Hall 300 Park Ave
CITY OF MANASSAS (manassascity.org, 703-257-8200) 9205 Center Street, Manassas
MANASSAS PARK (cityofmanassaspark.us, 703-335-8800) One Park Center Ct., Manassas
The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by mail is 5:00pm one week before the election. If you have already requested a mail-in ballot, that ballot must be returned by 7:00pm on Election Night (send to the Office of Elections or bring to your local polling place).
To check on the status of your ballot, look up your voter record here.
Apply to vote absentee-by-mail with a paper application or online.
PRINT THIS DOCUMENT or pick up an Absentee Ballot Application from your library or local government office.
- Voting early in-person (absentee in-person) in actually simpler. There are 10 special early voting locations throughout the county, “curbside voting” allows voters to remain in their vehicle, and you can vote up to 45 days before Election Day — even on some evenings and Saturdays. For details, see Early Voting In-Person section of this voting page.
- Voting absentee-by-mail is a multistep process requiring correctly applying, receiving, completing, and returning the ballot:
Voting Absentee-by-Mail is especially useful for those who:
- Plan to be out of town for an extended period of time (Absentee-by-mail ballots can be requested up to one year in advance of the next November General Election.),
- Are likely unable to vote in person (early or on Election Day).
- Are college students (or their spouses) who do not plan to return to their city/county of registration before Election Day, or
- Voters without a valid photo ID, but who have voted in other Virginia elections. (No photo ID is required when voting by mail except for first-time Virginia voters.)
All Absentee Ballots are Counted — on (or after) Election Day
You can rest assured that properly completed absentee ballots are counted just like any other ballot.
Follow these steps to vote successfully by mail:
- REQUEST YOUR MAIL-IN BALLOT
Get your vote-by-mail application form online here. The last day to request your mail-in ballot is one week before Election Day, 5pm.
- YOU CAN CHECK THE STATUSof your Absentee-by-Mail Application
At any time, you can verify the status of your application: its receipt by the registrar, when it was mailed to you, and when your completed ballot was received by the registrar. Check your voter record.
Ballots are sent to voters beginning 45 days before Election Day, or about 1-2 weeks after your application is received by the Registrar.
- COMPLETE YOUR MAILED BALLOT
Due to COVID, no witness presence or signature is required on the mail-in ballot for the June 23rd Primary Election, to help ensure social distancing.
TIP #1 Follow instructions precisely so your Absentee Ballot will count and not be rejected. Inside the absentee ballot kit, there are 1) instructions, 2) a separate “A” envelope containing the ballot, 3) a “B” envelope used for holding only your completed ballot, and 4) the return envelope pre-addressed to your Registrar’s office.
TIP #2 If requested with your application, your Absentee Ballot kit will also include a separate Assistance flyer with instructions and the assistance’s signature request. Return this signed form in the pre-addressed envelope to your Registrar’s office. Include it in the return envelope, but outside the B envelope (which only contains your completed ballot).
TIP #3 Print your answers to fill in all open spaces on the back of the B envelope, date it, and sign it. The address line is for your residence (from your voter registration), which not necessarily the address where your ballot kit was received.
TIP #4 Generally, no voter ID is required for mail-in ballots, except if you are a first-time Virginia voter who registered without providing a voter ID. If so, you will receive special instructions, and are asked to include this ID within the return envelope, but outside envelope B (which contains only your completed ballot).
- How to RETURN YOUR COMPLETED BALLOT TO THE REGISTRAR
The completed ballot must arrive at the registrar’s office before 7pm of Election Day.
- Use a single first class stamp if using the US postal service. The USPS requests that you allow 7 days for delivery of your ballot.
- Use a commercial delivery service (FedX or UPS) to deliver your ballot, with any fees prepaid. No personal courier can be used.
- You can hand deliver the completed ballot yourself to the register’s office before Election Day (no one else can do this for you). There is a drop box in the registrar’s office for completed ballots.
- If you DO NOT RECEIVE your mail-in ballot, CHANGE YOUR MIND, or spoil your ballot, then vote in-person (early, or at your precinct on Election Day), or call your registrar for alternative instructions.
- If you never receive your ballot, please check the status on your voter record, (link to citizen portal) and/or call your registrar for further instructions. You can vote in person instead (early or on Election Day), and will then receive a provisional ballot. Your vote will still count if the records show that only one vote was cast.
- If you 1) change your mind and decide to vote in-person, (either early or on Election Day), 2) make a mistake on your ballot, or 3) spoil it in some way, bring your completed/spoiled ballot to your precinct on Election Day. The Election Officer will provide you a provisional ballot, and your vote will count if the records show that only one vote was cast.
High School Student Voting
People can register to vote if they will be 18 by the next General Election in November. This means they can vote in any election the year leading up to that date, at age 17. For example, if a high schooler will be 18 by November 3, 2020, they can register to vote now (until October 13) and vote in any primary/special election preceding it.
If the voter later changes residences later in the year (i.e. for college), the voter registration can be updated to a different voting residence, if desired, up until October 13, 2020. Read below for further details.
College Student Voting
Due to COVID-19, Virginia allows every registered voter to vote before Election Day – either in-person absentee, or absentee by mail. Voters are encouraged to vote by mail to help maintain social distancing.
FOR FIRST-TIME VOTERS: We recommend you REGISTER TO VOTE using your “home” address. By doing so, regardless of your college/universities plans on where/how classes will be conducted in the fall, you’ll be ready to vote. Go here.
IF YOU ARE ALREADY REGISTERED using a college address: Eequest your absentee ballot to vote by mail after you begin classes in the fall — around September 1, 2020 — so you know your exact mailing address when in college. Due to COVID, many colleges/universities have not yet finalized how/where classes will be conducted.
VERIFY: Beginning 48 hours after you request your ballot, verify the status of your ballot here. Notify your registrar if any problems are noted. Return to the site to re-check the status so you know when to expect your ballot.
TAKE A STAMP TO COLLEGE: Returning your completed ballot to the registrar requires one first class stamp. Stamps at college are often hard to secure.
RETURN YOUR COMPLETED BALLOT: We recommend you return your completed ballot immediately to the registrar, to ensure your vote gets counted. Mail-in ballots are often misplaced or lost, or not returned on time. The post office suggests allowing 9 business days for delivery. Your completed ballot is due to your Registrar by Election Day, November 3.
College students have a choice about where, when, and how to vote in Virginia elections. The decision usually hinges on which college or university will be attended, and how far away from “home” the student will be.
WHERE IS MY ‘RESIDENCE’?
Virginia’s guidelines state that a college student resides for voting purposes where they consider to be living for an indefinite period of time. The intention can change for any reason, at any time. People can choose as their residence for voting purposes “where they rest their head at night”.
This choice of residence for voting purposes in Virginia has no bearing on taxes, tuition, scholarship, or driver’s license. Such legal terms as domicile or residence do not relate to the college student’s choice of “voting residence”.
But a college student can have only one voting residence for a given election. The residence of record as of 22 days before Election Day (Oct 13, 2020 for the General Election) determines one’s voting “locality”, polling location and what or who is on the ballot.
- Any student can choose their “home” address as their voting residence even if they are temporarily living at or close to their college.
- Students living on campus at George Mason, James Madison, Virginia Tech, or the University of Virginia can choose their campus mailing address as their voting residence. These universities have polling locations on campus, so transportation is not a concern. Polls are open 6am to 7pm.
- GMU students living on campus use their mailing address as their voting residence: 4450 Rivanna River Way, Fairfax Va, 22030. This is subject to change for GMU. Additional address requirements currently under legal review.
- VTech students living on campus use their Residential Hall address: Hall, Rm #, Street Address, Blacksburg, Va, 24061-XXXX (last 4 are specific to the building) as their voting residence.
- JMU students living on campus (not Grace Street apartments) use their mailing address as their voting residence: 800 South Main St., PO Box XXX, Name of Residence Hall, Harrisonburg, Va, 22807
- UVA students living on campus use their mailing address as their voting residence. Depending on the student’s residential hall address, some UVA students vote on campus, others vote at a nearby elementary school.
- Students living off campus can choose this off-campus address as their voting residence.
- Students attending college outside of Virginia can use their “home” address as their voting residence for voting in the Virginia elections. They can vote early in-person, or absentee-by-mail. If these students choose as their voting residence their college address outside of Virginia, they will vote in that other state. Scrutinize that state’s voting requirements, as they might differ from Virginia’s. Election laws are state laws.
Keep in mind: political races are literally won or lost by one vote. In the 2017 elections, the entire balance of power of the Virginia House of Delegates was determined by one name pulled out of a bowl. One vote out of 2,600,000 votes made the difference.
VOTING BEFORE ELECTION DAY
We want every citizen to vote.
- If you require assistance when voting, Reason Code 2A (your disability or illness or simply having difficulty standing in line) can qualify you to vote early.
- Vote with a companion of your choice: Anyone–a child, non-citizen, relative, or friend–can help you. The only exceptions: your employer or union official.
- Ask for help from poll-workers and Election Officers with how to use the voting machines or to answer other questions you might have.
- Polling locations in Virginia are compliant with ADA requirements. The Americans With Disabilities Act requires that voting be made accessible to those who might have difficulty navigating the terrain or of being able to cast their ballot. (If you find the polling station to be inaccessible in any way, please report this problem to the Election Officer.)
- Privacy is a priority: Every voting facility has an accessible voting booth and machine to help ensure that the voter with any disability can cast a vote with privacy and independence.
Early Voting In-Person might be easier for you. You can pick a time and day which is convenient, parking spaces will be more plentiful, and lines will be shorter. (For more information, scroll up to the “Early Voting” section on this page.)
Curbside Voting–either during early voting times or on Election Day — allows a driver or passenger to vote without leaving the vehicle. Curbside voting is available for those with disabilities or those over the age of 65. Simply park in the space reserved and marked for this purpose. Then call the cell phone number written on the “Curbside Voting” sign to request assistance from an Election Officer or poll worker. Or a friend or companion can leave the vehicle and ask for assistance.
TIP: Take a cell phone with you so that you can call for assistance.
TIP: Bring a friend or relative to help you – no age requirement.
TIP: Request a sample ballot and any other literature you’d like to see before voting.
Absentee Ballot (by mail) —Voters can also vote by mail. To read more about this, scroll up to our “Absentee Ballot (by mail)” section on this page.
Vote with a companion who might offer you language assistance, including children.
Fairfax County Office of Elections prints voting-related materials in English, Spanish, Korean and Vietnamese. But voters can bring in their own language-assistance helper if desired.
All Virginia voters are required to show a photo ID. Acceptable photo IDs include any one of the following:
- Valid* Virginia Driver’s License or DMV Identification Card
- Valid Virginia DMV-issued Veteran’s ID card
- Valid United States Passport or Passport Card
- Other government-issued photo identification cards (must be issued by US Government, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a political subdivision of the Commonwealth, such as county, city, or town).
- Valid Virginia student photo ID from a private or public high school, college or university (or other institution of higher learning) located in Virginia
- Employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer’s business
- or a Virginia Voter Photo ID Card obtained through any local general registrar’s office
*Valid IDs must not be expired for more than 12 months at the time of use.
If you are a registered voter and don’t have any of the above ID’s, you can get a FREE photo ID at: 1) the Fairfax County Office of Elections (12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 323, Fairfax, VA 22035) during normal office hours, M-F 8 am – 4:30 pm, or 2) any satellite early voting locations when they are open for early (in-person absentee) voting. If you qualify to vote early, you can do both on the same trip. The process is easy, you just affirm your identity, and that you have no other photo ID — that’s it!
If you need a ride to get a voter photo ID, call our office at (703) 573-6811 during normal business hours and we will be happy to assist you.
If you are not able to get a valid ID or if you forget to bring your ID to the polls GO VOTE, and we can help you get an ID by the deadline so that your provisional ballot counts.
You may register to vote year-round except during the 21 days prior to a General or Primary election, 6 days prior to a Special election, or 6 days prior to a Special election called by the Governor (Code of Virginia 24.2-416).
- Verify that you are registered to vote, click here.
- Paper voter registration application, download
- Formulario en Español (Spanish voter registration application)
- Register to vote online
Office of Elections In Person Registration, or Mail Application To
- M-F 8:00 am – 4:30 pm at the:
- Fairfax County Office of Elections, Suite 323
Fairfax County Governmental Center
12000 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035
- Fairfax County Office of Elections, Suite 323
FIRST TIME VOTERS who have mailed in their registration must vote in person (early or on Election Day), or submit a copy of their valid photo ID with their mail-in absentee ballot application per Virginia law.
More than 225,000 ex-offenders have recently had their voting rights restored, beginning with Governor Terry McAuliffe’s signing of 219,000 individual orders in 2016. Governor Ralph Northam continues to sign these restoration of rights orders on an ongoing basis. If ex-offenders have completed their sentences and supervised probation or parole, their voting rights can be restored by the governor.
But most ex-offenders do not know that their rights have been restored and that they are now eligible to vote, often because their mailing address has changed from that known by the state. They may have never received their notice in the mail.
If you or someone you know has been convicted of a felony in Virginia or in U.S. District court, then they might already have had their voting rights restored!
Voting in Virginia occurs every year, and sometimes multiple times. Go here to learn more about voting in Virginia, early voting, and signing up to get reminded to vote:
If rights have not yet been restored, use this request form for a speedy rights restoration order: www.restore.virginia.gov. It is now easier than ever for voting rights to be restored, thanks to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s actions in 2016.
We can help you with getting the right information to ensure that your rights are restored.
ELECTION YEAR GUIDELINES
- Virginia has a General Election every year on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November
- Federal offices are elected in even-numbered years
- State and Local offices are elected in odd-numbered years
- If primaries are called by the political parties, they are held on the second Tuesday in June
History: Why it is the day it is.
Election Day (the day that United States citizens cast their ballot to elect government officials) is the Tuesday on or after November 2nd.
- November was selected because the harvest work was done.
- Tuesday was selected because many people had to travel the day before to reach the polling place. Since most people did not travel on Sunday for religious reasons, they did not want it to be on a Monday.
- Election Day was not to fall on November 1st because it is All Saints Day.
- Election Day was not to fall on the first of the month because many shop keepers did their books for the preceding month on the first.
Lyndon Johnson called the right to vote, “the most powerful tool ever devised by man to break down the walls of injustice.” Voting is your fundamental right as an American, and the most basic means by which you have a voice in how your government works. Voting determines who will represent you, your family, and your neighbors in your community, your state, and your country. We need your help to get everyone registered to vote and to make sure every vote is counted in Fairfax County.
- Fairfax County Office of Elections
- The Electoral Board and The General Registrar
Fairfax County Governmental Center
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 323
Fairfax, VA 22035
open for business weekdays, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Electoral Board, 703.324.4735, FAX: 703.324.4706
General Registrar, 703.222.0776, FAX: 703.324.22057
- The Electoral Board and The General Registrar
- Virginia State Board of Elections
- Suite 101, 200 North 9th Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3485
804.864.8901 Toll Free: 800.552.9745 FAX: 804.371.0194
- Suite 101, 200 North 9th Street
Political signs must comply with local ordinance, Chapter 9.5 of Title 24.2, Code of Virginia, and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) regulations. No sign shall be erected earlier than 75 days prior to nomination, election or referendum, AND all signs shall be removed within fifteen days after the announced results of the nomination, election or referendum.