Early in-person voting kicks off Friday in Virginia

Updated: Sep. 18, 2020 at 11:08 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Beginning Friday morning, any registered voter in Virginia can cast a vote in-person for the upcoming presidential election. Early voting will last 45 days.

In the past, you had to have a special reason to vote early, but due to coronavirus, you won’t need one if you want to go vote now. That’s why so many are expected to take advantage.

You can wait until Election Day, which is Nov. 3, or you can skip the lines and cast your vote as soon as Friday. Some localities are also offering Saturday options. The big races including the president and vice-president, U.S. Senate and who you want in the House of Representatives. Local issues and races may also be on your ballot.

“It’s just planning for a big party is what it is,” said Hanover’s Director of Elections Teresa Smithson. She’s making light of what’s been a stressful few weeks of getting the registrar’s office ready for you.

Smithson braved the rain Thursday to get signs in place for the big day as her crews worked hard inside making sure ballots are ready to go, even for those who want theirs to come in the mail.

“We’re going to have a lot of staff on hand for line direction,” Smithson said.

Things will look different.

“This is the social distancing markers that we’re hoping to help guide the voters so we can get them through one entry and out another exit so that we don’t have the cross over of voters,” Smithson said pointing to markers placed on the ground.

Each booth is cleaned after use.

“You’re going to have a large group that is just dedicated to sanitization throughout the day,” Smithson added.

All because they want to make it safe. In the past, you had to have a reason to vote early. This time, you don’t.

“People really like that because they’re able to do it on their terms, on their timeline,” she said.

Curbside voting is also an option in many localities. You don’t even have to get out of your car. Check with your city or county for early voting locations and times.

“I’m always puzzled when people choose not to vote, especially this year,” said Kirk Showalter. “All you do is fill out a voter registration application those are available online at the state Board of Elections website and the registration office at 2134 W Laburnum.”

Once your form is filled out, you can turn it in online or in-person. Then you can cast your ballot but must provide some measure of identification including:

  • A driver’s license.
  • A bank statement
  • Or a utility bill.

If you feel uncomfortable showing any of these forms, then you may sign a waiver that states you are who you say you are. However, once a voter is registered they can only vote in the precinct they are registered in.

In-person early voting is available until the Saturday before Election Day.

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