Haven’t voted yet? What to know if you run into an unforeseen problem

Updated: Oct. 30, 2020 at 12:22 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - There’s less than a week to make your voice heard in the 2020 election, and the hashtag #HaveAPlan is trending.

Saturday, Oct. 31, is the last day to vote early, in-person in Virginia (technically absentee, in-person voting). Across central Virginia, many lines for early voting have wrapped around the block, and that’ll likely be the case as Nov. 3 nears. All registrars and satellite voting locations will be open through Saturday, the final day to avoid potentially even longer lines on Tuesday.

If you requested a mail-in, absentee ballot and plan to send it through the Post Office, it must be postmarked Nov. 3 or earlier, in order to be counted. Election officials will be processing ballots received through next Friday, November 6, to add to the final count- as long as they have the correct postmark date.

You can also return your mail-in ballot to the registrar in person, or drop it off in a ballot box (most are located at voting sites) through 7 p.m., Election Day.

Remember, as long as you’re in line by 7 p.m. November 3, you can still cast a ballot in-person, or drop off a mail-in ballot.

If you checked the Department of Elections' online ballot tracker webpage, and it shows your absentee ballot wasn’t received, you can call the registrar or head there in person to cast a provisional ballot, just in case. A provisional ballot will be counted once it’s confirmed your initial ballot was somehow lost or never received by the registrar. But remember, with the historic early voting turnout 2020 has seen so far, election officials may still be entering your ballot into the system.

In the case of an emergency, like if you or an immediate family member are hospitalized, a death in the family, or even if your job requires you to travel outside your county or city last-minute, you can apply for an emergency absentee vote. Fill out the emergency absentee application form found online or at the registrar’s office. If approved, you can vote in person on November 2, or have someone else return your ballot through the close of Election Day.

If you need a ride to the polls, Uber and Lyft are offering deals. GRTC is offering free shuttles to the Richmond registrar from City Hall, for early voting and also providing free rides to the polls on Election Day. Petersburg Area Transit will also be offering free shuttle service to the polls on Election Day as part of its ‘Ride Out to Vote’ campaign. If you run into any issues at the polls, you can call the Department of Elections at 1-800-552-9745- the sooner the better to get your problem resolved before voting locations close.

Other voter advocacy groups you may contact are the ACLU of Virginia at 804-649-2733, the Election Protection Hotline 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683), or contact Electionland from ProPublica.

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