Witness signatures required to vote through the mail

Updated: Sep. 20, 2021 at 9:20 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Early voting is underway for the November elections, and while many things may be the same, there is one important difference for those voting through the mail.

If you are voting through the mail you need to make sure that the witness signature line is signed if you want your vote counted.

“It’s not going to be something that we just deny right away, we will talk to the voter and come up with a way,” Charlottesville Acting General Registrar and Director of Elections Taylor Yowell said.

Without that witness signature the process won’t be so smooth.

“If it’s just that the voter themselves forgot to sign the ballot, they can come in and sign it. But if it’s a witness they didn’t get, it gets a little more complicated,” Registrar and Director of Elections for Albemarle County Jake Washburne said.

“Whether we have to re-issue them a new ballot or coming down to our office, we will find a way for the ballot to be able to be accepted, but it is not going to be as smooth of a process as it would otherwise be,” Yowell said.

This was waived for past elections due to the coronavirus pandemic, but has been reinstated for the upcoming elections. That is because Governor Ralph Northam has not re-declared a state of emergency.

“The General Assembly changed the law last wintertime, and they said that if the governor re-declares a state of health emergency, then the witness signature will not be required,” Washburne said. “So everybody should who’s going to do a mail in ballot please remember to get that witness signature.”

If the witness signature is missing, the voter has to come down to the office, have the other ballot voided and re-vote.

“Please remember to get that witness signature right off the bat, that will save you a lot of trouble,” Washburne said.

If you plan to vote by mail, it is best to request your absentee ballot as soon as possible to make sure you can send it back by the deadline.

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