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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 convenient for you!
Protect your vote against getting too busy, getting sick, changes in plans, bad weather (even flooding), bad traffic or long lines on Election Day. Almost all voters qualify!
If on Election Day, you plan to leave your county/city of registration (e.g. Fairfax County) for any period of time for work, school, or a personal reason (errand, meeting, appointment, visit or trip), or if you are ill, disabled or just have difficulty waiting in line, you qualify.
Just go to any one of your county’s/city’s Vote Early (in-person absentee) locations below and select a code that qualifies you:
Work or Personal Business: On Election Day, you plan to leave your city/county of residence for any amount of time because of:
Code 1C – Work, job, business
Code 1D – Any personal reason (errand, meeting, appointment, class, trip, visit, etc.).
Code 1E – 11-hr combined work-commute within your county. Select only if Code 1C doesn’t apply.
Code 1A/1B – You or your spouse attend college outside your city/county of residence
Code 6A/6B – You, or dependent/spouse living with you, are active duty military/merchant marine
Code 1F – You are a first responder
Health Issues or Caregiver:
Code 2A – Disabled, ill, difficulty waiting in line
Code 2B – Primary caregiver for disabled at home
Code 2C – You are pregnant
If you qualify, you can also Vote Absentee by mail. See the topic “ABSENTEE BALLOT (by-mail)” immediately below “VOTING EARLY” to apply for an absentee ballot.
VOTE EARLY Times & Locations for Northern Virginia
(All Northern Virginia Locations closed Martin Luther King, Jr Birthday, Jan. 20 and George Washington Day/President’s Day, Feb. 17.) Free Photo ID’s for voting can be obtained at Vote Early Locations (you could vote early on same trip!); no documents needed, just swear to your identity.
FAIRFAX COUNTY (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections, 703-222-0776) Registered residents can vote early at any of these voting locations regardless of the voter’s residence in Fairfax County. (But on Election Day, you can only vote at your assigned polling place. To verify your assigned polling place, or to verify your voting district click here to check your Voter Record.)
Fairfax Government Center (map) 12000 Government Center Pkwy, Conf. Room 2-3, Fairfax, VA
Jan 17-Feb 21: Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm, (Thursdays until 7pm)
Feb 22-Feb 29: Monday-Friday, 8am-7pm
Feb 22 & Feb 29: Saturdays, 9am-5pm
Or try any convenient Fairfax County Satellite location (below):
Feb 22-Feb 29: Monday-Friday, 3pm-7-pm, Saturdays, 9am-5pm
- Franconia Governmental Center, 6121 Franconia Rd, Alexandria, VA 22310
- Great Falls Library, 9830 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls, VA 22066
- Herndon Fortnightly Library, 768 Center St, Herndon, VA 20170
- Lorton Library, 9520 Richmond Hwy, Lorton, VA 22079
- Mason Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003
- McLean Governmental Center, 1437 Balls Hill Rd, McLean, VA 22101
- Mount Vernon Governmental Center, 2511 Parkers Ln, Alexandria, VA 22306
- North County Governmental Center, 1801 Cameron Glen Dr, Reston, VA 20190
- Providence Community Center, 3001 Vaden Dr, Fairfax, VA 22031 (Near Vienna Metro)
- Sully Governmental Center, 4900 Stonecroft Blvd, Chantilly, VA 20151
- Tysons Pimmit Library, 7584 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043
- West Springfield Governmental Center, 6140 Rolling Rd, West Springfield, VA 22152
Other Northern Virginia Counties and Cities
(Vote in the County or City where you are registered — check with them directly for possible extended times & locations.)
LOUDOUN COUNTY (www.loudoun.gov/vote, 703-777-0380) Registered residents can vote early at any of these voting locations regardless of the voter’s residence in Loudoun County. (On Election Day, you can only vote at your assigned polling place. To verify your assigned polling place, or to see your ballot, click here.)
- Loudoun County Voter Registration Office 750 Miller Drive, S.E., Suite C, Leesburg, VA 20175 (directions) Friday, Jan 17: Mon-Fri, 8:30am-5pm; Saturday, February 29: 9am-5pm (Closed on Oct. 14, Columbus Day)
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY (Prince William County www.pwcvotes.com, 703-792-6470). Registered residents can vote early at any of these locations regardless of the voter’s residence in Prince William County. (On Election Day, you can only vote at your assigned polling place. To verify your assigned polling place, or to see your ballot click here.)
Jan 17–Feb 28 (hours for all 3 locations; all 3 closed on Jan 20, Martin Luther King, Jr Birthday):
Monday – Friday: 8:30am – 5:00pm
Saturdays (Feb 8, 15, 22,): 8:30am – 12:00pm (8:30am – 5pm on Saturday, Feb 29)
- Prince William County Office of Elections, 9250 Lee Ave Suite 1, Manassas, VA 20110
- Woodbridge Department of Motor Vehicles, 2731 Caton Hill Road, Woodbridge, VA 22192
- Haymarket Gainesville Community Library, 14870 Lightner Road, Haymarket, VA 20169
Other Nearby Northern Virginia Counties/Cities
Check directly with your city/county (below) for possible extended hours. (On Election Day, you can only vote at your assigned polling place. To verify your assigned polling place, or to see your ballot click here.)
FALLS CHURCH CITY (www.fallschurchva.gov, 703-248-5085) City Hall 300 Park Ave.
CITY OF MANSASSAS (www.manassascity.org, 703-257-8200) 9205 Center Street, Manassas.
MANASSAS PARK (www.cityofmanassaspark.us, 703-335-8800) One Park Center Ct., Manassas.
The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by mail is 5:0pm, Tuesday, February 25. 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.
PAPER:https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/formswarehouse/Absentee-Voting/Applications/SBE-701-Absentee-Ballot-Application-Rev7-17-long.pdf or pick up an Absentee Ballot Application from your library or local government office.
In our experience, the paper application is easier, faster, and more understandable. Korean Absentee Ballot Application ,Vietnamese Absentee Ballot Application, Spanish Absentee Ballot Application (Formulario de Solicitud de Voto Ausente de Virginia)
ONLINE: Plan to spend some time completing the online application
- 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 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:
1. VERIFY. that your voter registration is up to date here: vote.virginia.gov.
2. QUALIFY. Make sure you qualify to vote absentee (by-mail or in-person.).Most people do. Click here to review the 20 possible reasons. Reasons 1A, 1C, 1D, and 2A are the most commonly used reasons.
3. APPLY. Apply to vote absentee-by-mail with the paper application or online.
- PAPER: See above for further details. https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/formswarehouse/Absentee-Voting/Applications/SBE-701-Absentee-Ballot-Application-Rev7-17-long.pdf
- MAIL: See above. https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation
- Your Absentee-by-Mail Application must be received by the Office of Elections by 4:30pm on the Tuesday before the election, (or by 11:59pm if submitted online.) In 2019, the deadline is October 29. We suggested doing this as soon as possible, to allow for transit time to and from.
- (Your Absentee-by-Mail Application can be sent to the registrar’s office up to one year before the date of the election for which you seek a mail-in ballot.)
4. RECEIVE YOUR MAIL-IN BALLOT
- Ballots are sent to voters beginning 45 days before Election Day. If your application is received by the registrar after this date, you can expect to receive your ballot about 1-2 weeks later.
5. VOTE WITH YOUR MAIL-IN BALLOT
- Follow instructions precisely so your Absentee Ballot will not be rejected as invalid. Inside the envelope, there are instructions, a separate “A” envelope containing the ballot, a “B” envelope used for inserting the completed ballot, and the return envelope which is pre-addressed to your Registrar’s office.
- A witness is required before opening the ballot. Anyone can be a witness. They just have to sign their name — child, non-citizen, partner, a friend.
- Follow the 4-page instruction sheet precisely to ensure your ballot counts.
- If requested with application, a separate Assistance Form is included, with instructions and request for Assistance signature.
- Sometimes a separate notice is also included requesting a copy of your valid photo ID – if this is the first time you are voting
6. IF YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND AND LATER WANT TO VOTE In-PERSON
- Once an Absentee-by-Mail Application is requested (online or using a paper application), your vote will be expected to be cast in this manner. If you later change your mind and vote in person (either early or on Election Day), bring in your ballot with you so your voting records are accurate. If you do not have your mail ballot when you later decide to vote in person, your provisional ballot will count if it is determined that you only voted one time.
7. MAIL YOUR BALLOT
- Use first class stamp if using the US postal service, or send via some other delivery service with any fees prepaid.
- The completed ballot must arrive before 7pm of Election Day. The USPS requests that you allow 9 days for delivery of your ballot. You can bring the completed ballot in to the register’s office yourself(no one else can do this for you.)
- If you later change your mind and vote in person (either early or on Election Day) bring in you voted ballot to have your vote counted, or vote provisionally if you do not have your ballot. This provisional ballot will automatically be counted when it is determined that you have only voted once.
- No one but the voter can hand deliver the voted ballot in person during In-Person Absentee hours or on Election Day.
8. YOU CAN CHECK THE STATUS of your Absentee-by-Mail Application online at www.vote.virginia.gov
Updated for the November 2020 General Election.
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
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 polling location and what or who is on the ballot.
Register to vote or update the address on your voter record to change your voting residence — just click on the BLUE REGISTER TO VOTE button at the top of this page.
- 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. Check back to this website late January, 2020 for update.
- 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.
- Any student can choose their “home” address as their voting residence even if they are temporarily living at or close to their college.
- 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
Follow these steps to vote early in-person. See complete list of qualifying reasons and multiple locations and times (even some evenings and Saturdays) for early voting on the Early Voting page of this webpage.
Step #1 Plan when and where you will vote early in-person. Just show up. No advance paperwork is necessary.
Step #2 Students can qualify for early voting with Code 1A/Spouse 1B if they attend school outside their city/county of residence and return home to vote.
Step #3 Bring your Virginia College Student Photo ID or your Virginia driver’s license as your required voter photo ID.
Step #4 Pick up a sample ballot from the outside poll workers, and VOTE!
Follow these steps to vote absentee by mail:
We strongly recommend that you choose early (in-person) voting instead of voting by mail. Mailed ballots are sometimes not received, misplaced, or not returned in time to count. Casting one’s vote by mail is more complicated than voting early in-person.
Step #1 After you have physically moved to college, apply for your mail-in ballot.
- Download an absentee-by-mail application from this website, or complete the absentee-by-mail application online. The last day for the registrar to receive a request for an absentee-by-mail ballot is October 27, 2020 for the November 3, 2020 General Election (or online by 11:59pm). We strongly recommend that any absentee-by-mail ballot be requested at least 11 days before Election Day to allow for any postage delay.
Step #2 Ballots are sent to voters about one week after the absentee voting applications are received by the registrar, starting in September. Check the status of your absentee applications and ballots at elections.virginia.gov/citizen-portal.
Step #3 Complete the ballot. (We suggest viewing detailed instructions on the Absentee-by-Mail page before requesting a mail-in ballot.)
Step #4 Return the completed ballot to the registrar’s office via US Mail by 5pm November 3, 2020 for the General Election. The US Post Office suggests allowing 2-9 days for first class delivery. The completed ballot cannot be hand-delivered by anyone other than the voter. If it is hand-delivered, the voter has until 7pm Election Day.
- If this is the first time you will be voting, and have chosen to vote by mail, you are required to include a copy of your Voter Photo ID with your ballot (a Virginia school student photo ID or Virginia driver’s license is acceptable). Include it inside the return Envelope “A”, as per the instructions.
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.