Election and Voter FAQ

When is the next election?

The next elections are the City and Town Elections on May 19th, 2020.  Upcoming election dates are published on our website at www.elections.virginia.gov/calendar

What hours are the polls open?

Polling hours throughout the Commonwealth are from 6:00 a.m. until  7:00 p.m.  As long as a voter is in line by 7:00 p.m., the voter will be able to vote. 

Am I registered to Vote?

How do I know if I’m registered to vote?

The deadline to register to vote is Monday, April 13, 2020 for the May City and Town Elections to be held on May 19th, 2020

You may register to vote or check your status online:

  1. Access the following link:
    Virginia Department of Elections citizen portal
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page, click Go.
  3. Enter your name, date of birth, last 4 digits of their social security number and their locality. And check the certification box.
  4. You will now see your voter record

If  you do not appear in the system, and you believe you are registered to vote, please contact your local registrar. You will find that contact information at:

Where can I register to vote?

The Virginia Department of Elections has several options to choose from:

  • You may request a Virginia Voter Registration Application from your local general registrar.
  • You may register to vote at your local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.
  • You may contact a candidate campaign, political party or other organization with voter outreach.

When will I know my voter registration status?

When you register, the local general registrar mails voter notifications directly to you.  If  you have not received any information in the mail, You can check your status online at: www.elections.virginia.gov/citizen-portal

If you cannot confirm registration online, please call your local general registrar. You will find that contact information at:


If I am 17 but will turn 18 by the November 2020 General Election, can I register to vote?

Yes. The deadline to register to vote is Monday, April 13, 2020 for the City and Town Elections to be held on May 19, 2020.

Do I register by political party?

No, Virginia residents do not register by party. 

I have been convicted of a felony. Can I vote?

Only if you have had your rights restored.

Any person convicted of a felony loses their right to vote in Virginia and that right can only be restored by the Governor of Virginia. You can find out more information, check the current status of your civil rights, and apply to have your rights restored through the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website: https://commonwealth.virginia.gov/judicial-system/restoration-of-rights/.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Restoration Department can be contacted directly at (804) 692-0104.

Once your rights have been restored you must register to vote before you can qualify to receive a ballot at the next election.

Where do I go to vote on election day?

  1. Access the following link:
    Virginia Department of Elections polling place lookup www.elections.virginia.gov/poll
  2. Enter your address
  3. The system will show your polling place

Do I need to bring proof that I am registered to vote?

No, you do not need to bring proof of your voter registration.  All you need to bring is a photo ID.  Refer to the next question to see the list of acceptable photo IDs.

What are the acceptable forms of photo identification on election day?

Virginia law requires all registered voters to show one acceptable photo ID to vote in person.

The following are acceptable forms of identification.

  • Virginia driver’s license
  • Virginia DMV-issued photo ID
  • United States passport
  • Employer-issued photo ID
  • Student photo ID issued by a school, college, or university located in Virginia (public or private)
  • Other U.S. or Virginia government-issued photo ID (including veteran’s photo ID)
  • Tribal enrollment or other tribal photo ID issued by one of the 11 tribes recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Virginia voter photo ID card

What if I do not have valid ID?

If you don’t have an acceptable photo ID, simply go to your nearest voter registration office to get one for free. You can apply for a free Virginia voter photo ID card throughout the year at any local voter registration office, even on Election Day! You will be required to complete a photo ID application, have your photo taken, and sign a digital signature pad. Your Virginia voter photo ID card will be printed and mailed to your address on file in the Virginia voter registration system. You will be given a temporary ID by the registrar while you wait to receive your Virginia voter photo ID card.

If you get to your polling place without acceptable photo ID, you can vote a provisional ballot. You will need to submit a copy of a valid ID by 12:00 noon the Friday after the elections, . You will be given instructions on what to do so your vote can count.

For more information on acceptable IDs, how to obtain a Virginia Voter Photo ID Card, or any other questions, contact or visit your nearest Virginia Voter Registration Office or email info@elections.virginia.gov.

What if I have moved since the last time I voted?

If you have moved from another state: you will have to complete a Virginia Voter Registration Application. You may only be registered to vote in one state.

If you have moved within the state: you will need to update your voter record. You can do so online or your local general registrar. If your move occurred since the last November election, you may return to and vote at your previous polling location. Remember, all voters must update their records to reflect current residence because eligibility to vote requires residence in the precinct assigned based on their residence.

How do I apply for an absentee ballot?

You have several options:

  • You may apply on-line. www.elections.virginia.gov/citizen-portal  
  • You can contact your general registrars’ office and request the ballot. You will find that contact information at:
  • You may visit your local general registrar’s office and complete the application. If during the absentee ballot voting period your application is approved, you will be allow to cast your vote at that time.

The deadlines for absentee ballots for the May 19, 2020, City and Town Elections;

  • Absentee ballot by mail application: 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, 2020.
  • Absentee ballot by appearing in-person: 5:00 p.m. Saturday, May 16, 2020.
  • Absentee ballots to be returned to local general registrar’s office: 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Note: Your local general registrar’s office is open on Saturday, May 16, 2020, for in-person absentee ballot voting. Please check the hours of your local office as the Saturday hours may vary. Some localities provide additional locations for in person absentee voting. 
Notice to voters using US mail service: the USPS delivery standards changed last year so that First Class delivery went from 1-3 days to 2-5 days and Standard delivery is now 2-9 days. Please keep this in mind, as the ballot must be received by your local general registrar no later than 7:00 PM on Election Day. Having the ballot postmarked by the deadline does not count if the ballot is still received after the deadline.

Do I qualify to vote absentee?

Registered voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia qualify to vote absentee if they meet any one of the following criteria:

  • Student attending college or university outside of locality of residence in Virginia
  • Spouse of student attending college or university outside locality of residence in Virginia
  • Business outside County/City of residence on Election Day
  • Personal business or vacation outside County/City of residence on Election Day
  • Working and commuting to/from home for 11 or more hours between 6:00 AM and 7:00 PM on Election Day
  • First responder (member of law enforcement, fire fighter, emergency technician, search and rescue)
  • Disability or illness
  • Primarily and personally responsible for the care of a disabled/ill family member confined at home
  • Pregnancy
  • Confined, awaiting trial
  • Confined, convicted of a misdemeanor
  • An electoral board member, registrar, officer of election, or custodian of voting equipment
  • Religious obligation
  • Active Duty Merchant Marine or Armed Forces
  • Spouse or dependent living with a member of Active Duty Merchant Marine or Armed Forces
  • Temporarily residing outside of US
  • Temporarily residing outside of US for employment or spouse or dependent residing with employee
  • Requesting a ballot for presidential and vice-presidential electors only
    (Ballots for other offices/issues will not be sent)
  • Authorized representative of candidate or party serving inside the polling place
  • Granted a protective order issued by or under the authority of a court of competent jurisdiction.

More information on voting absentee can be found on our absentee voting page

What is a provisional ballot?

A provisional ballot is a ballot used to record the vote of an individual whose eligibility to vote cannot be confirmed at the polling location on election day by election officials or the general registrar.

If the Officers of Election and General Registrar cannot find your name in the pollbook or there is some other question regarding your eligibility to vote (such as you received an absentee ballot). A provisional ballot is designed to protect your right to vote by allowing you to submit a ballot that will be counted if the underlying question of your eligibility can be resolved.

Additionally, if you go to your polling place and do not have proper photo ID, you will have to vote a provisional ballot. Follow the instructions given to you by the Officers of Election so that you can provide your ID by the deadline, and your vote will be counted.

I was turned away at the polling location and was not offered a provisional ballot.  What can I do?

  • If you were turned away because you were at the wrong polling location, then you will need to vote at the polling location that is associated with the voter registration address. You can look up the polling address using Polling Place Lookup www.elections.virginia.gov/poll
  • If you were turned away for any other reason, return to your polling location and ask to vote with a provisional ballot.

Why am I receiving political mailings and phone calls?

Political organizations are able to acquire voter information through a variety of sources.  The Code of Virginia protects voter data, however, and the Department of Elections takes voter privacy very seriously.  Many steps are taken to ensure the security of voter data, and only certain political parties, candidates, and non-profit groups are able to request lists of registered voters for authorized uses only.

How do I file a complaint?

If you have a complaint related to your registration or voting experience, the law provides several options for you to take action.

Be sure to provide as much information as you can in the complaint.  The complaint will be sent to the Department of Elections, and to your general registrar.