Absentee and Early Voting
To all Virginians voting by mail/absentee ballots for the January 5, 2021 Special Elections:
If you believe you may not safely have a witness present while completing the absentee ballot for the January 5, 2021 Special Election, you are not required to have a witness present or have a witness sign your ballot envelope.
Your ballot will not be rejected due to a missing witness signature. These instructions override any instructions on your ballot envelopes regarding witness signatures.
Early Voting In-Person
You can vote early at your local registrar’s office beginning 45 days before Election Day and ending the Saturday before Election Day. Before visiting your local registrar’s office, you may wish to check your registration status or call your registrar’s office. You can find your registrar’s phone number here. To vote early in-person, do the following:
- Starting 45 days before Election Day, visit your local registrar’s office or a satellite voting location in your county or city to vote early. Remember, the Saturday before Election Day is the last day to vote early.
- You do not have to have a reason or fill out an application to vote early.
- At the registrar’s office or satellite voting location, you must provide your name and address and show an acceptable form of ID or sign an ID Confirmation Statement. To view a complete list of acceptable IDs, please visit our Voting In-Person page. If acceptable identification is not provided, you must sign an ID Confirmation Statement or a provisional ballot will be offered and you are allowed until the Friday at noon following the election to provide a copy of acceptable identification to the electoral board or sign
an ID Confirmation Statement. Provisional voters receive a notice to remind them of the deadline and right to attend the electoral board meeting.
- Accessible equipment and/or curbside voting is available upon request.
Applying to Vote Absentee By Mail
- Apply online to vote by mail
- All PAPER absentee application forms can be found on our Voter Forms page >>>
- Military and overseas voters can find specific information regarding absentee voting on our Military and Overseas page.
After applying, you can check to see if your absentee application was received, and whether your ballot was sent and received by going to our Citizen Portal.
- Download and complete the Vote by Mail Application Form (En Español) (Tiếng Việt) (한 국어)
- Return the completed and signed form to your local registrar's office by mail, fax, or scanned attachment to an email. Contact information for your local general registrar's office is available using our online lookup tool.
- After the registrar processes your application, you will receive your ballot in the mail. Please note: ballots can be mailed out to applicants starting 45 days prior to the relevant election date.
- Carefully review the instructions to complete and return your ballot to your local registrar by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. If you are returning your ballot by-mail, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your registrar by noon on the third day after the election.
- In state elections only some first-time voters who registered by mail may vote absentee by mail only under certain circumstances. See the section below “If it is your first time voting in your county or city” for more information.
- For federal elections see section titled "**Special Federal ID Requirements for Certain First Time Absentee By Mail Voters."
If It Is Your First Time Voting In Your County Or City
In state and local elections, some first-time voters cannot vote absentee by mail. If you registered to
vote by mailing in your voter registration application, and it is your first time voting in your locality,
you cannot vote by mail in a state or local election unless you meet one of the following conditions:
- You are a student attending college/university outside of your city/county of residence in Virginia
- You have a disability or illness that prevents you from voting in person
- You are pregnant
- You are confined awaiting trial or you are confined following conviction for a misdemeanor
- You are active duty merchant marine or in the armed forces or a spouse or dependent of an active duty service member
- You are temporarily residing outside of the United States
- You have moved to another state less than thirty days before a Presidential election and you are requesting a ballot for Presidential and Vice-Presidential electors only
- You are age 65 or older
Check with your local General Registrar to confirm your eligibility to vote absentee by mail. Special federal ID requirements apply to certain first-time voters.
** Special Federal ID Requirements For Certain First Time Absentee By Mail Voters
For persons who registered to vote in Virginia by mail, federal law requires them to show identification (ID) when voting for the first time in a federal election if they did not send a copy of one of these IDs with their voter registration applications. Recent legislation has eliminated the differences in acceptable identification for in-person voting. Therefore, the special federal ID requirements only apply to certain absentee voters by mail who will be notified by a notice explaining the requirements sent with their absentee ballot. Voters who receive a notice about this special requirements need to include a copy of any of the following types of ID with the voted ballot:
- A current and valid photo ID (for example a driver’s license);
- or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck that shows name and address;
- or another government document that shows name and address (for example a voter card). If the voter returns an absentee ballot by mail without a copy of one of these forms of ID, the absentee ballot will be treated as a provisional ballot and counted only if the voter provides a copy of ID to the electoral board by the deadline applicable to all voters.
If the voter returns an absentee ballot by mail without a copy of one of these forms of ID, the absentee ballot will be treated as a provisional ballot and counted only if the voter provides a copy of ID to the electoral board by the deadline applicable to all voters.
Emergency Absentee Voting
There are two basic types of emergency absentee voting with different procedures for each:
- You may cast an emergency absentee ballot if you were unable to meet the "vote by mail" application deadline for any of the following reasons (Va. Code § 24.2-705):
- Your hospitalization or illness;
- The hospitalization, illness, or death of a spouse, child, or parent; or
- Other emergency found to justify receipt of an emergency absentee ballot
- You may request to vote emergency absentee at any time prior to 2:00 pm on the day preceding the election
- If you are approved for an emergency ballot, your general registrar shall provide the absentee ballot to your designated representative for delivery to you
- You shall mark the ballot in the presence of your designated representative
- The ballot shall be counted only if the ballot is received by the general registrar prior to the close of polls
2. (For certain voters) You Change Plans After Noon Saturday (Va. Code § 24.2-705.1)
- You must be either an officer of election who was assigned after 12:00 pm on the Saturday before the election to work in a precinct other than his own; or
- You had an obligation arise after 12:00 pm on the Saturday before the election due either to; 1) your business, profession, or occupation; 2) the hospitalization of you or a member of your immediate family; or 3) the death of a member of your immediate family
- Apply and vote in person by 2:00 p.m. on the day preceding the election
- Emergency Absentee Ballot Application – Travel (.doc)
- Emergency Absentee Ballot Application – Hospitalized or Otherwise Incapacitated Voter (.doc)