On Sept. 18, the official countdown begins in Arlington for the Nov. 3 Presidential election. Voting choices include voting in-person the day of the election at your regular polling site, voting in-person before the Election at one of five sites located around Arlington, or voting by absentee ballot through the mail or by depositing the ballot in a drop box. But many voters didn’t want to wait.
Voters line up in unexpected numbers on the first day of early voting at Courthouse Plaza. Ed McDermott is in line at 7:50 a.m. to vote when the polls open on Sept. 18 for the first day of early voting in Arlington. He says even with the line trailing down Clarendon Boulevard, it only took 15 minutes to complete the process including COVID precautions and pen sanitizing.
“I voted early for two reasons,” McDermott said. “I wanted to make sure my ballot was counted and I didn’t trust the shenanigans at the Post Office. Second reason is that I fear there is going to be a COVID spike very soon, and people that haven’t planned ahead and who may be sick on Nov. 3 may feel compelled to vote in person and expose others to their sickness.”
Hand sanitizer is available at the check-in station manned by a masked poll worker. The voter receives a sanitized pen and advances to a well-spaced desk to fill out the ballot.
Meanwhile, on Sept. 18, voters who signed up for absentee ballots began to find their green and white Official Mail Ballot envelope in their mailboxes. Inside is a Mail Ballot Return Envelope with a wide yellow stripe addressed to the Arlington County Board of Elections and including postage. A sealed envelope including a ballot with a warning not to open it until you have read the instructions accompanies it.
The instructions state that you mark your ballot with a blue or black pen, place marked ballot in Envelope B, complete the statement on the envelope, seal the envelope and sign it. The envelope has a line for a witness signature but this is no longer required. Envelope B is then placed in the Mail Ballot Return Envelope.
You may mail your absentee ballot through USPS or a commercial delivery service or deliver to a drop box location. Mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by noon on the Friday after Election Day to be counted.
In addition to in-person voting at the Courthouse Plaza beginning Sept. 18, early in-person voting is also available beginning Oct. 17 at four additional sites including Aurora Hills Community Center, Langston-Brown Community Center, Madison Community Center and Walter Reed Community Center. These same locations also serve as official supervised drop sites for depositing your absentee ballot.
For more information: https://vote.arlingtonva.us/ or call 703-228-3456.