Voters across the state braved long lines and wait times in some places of several hours as early voting began Sept. 18 for the upcoming Nov. 3 general election.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) was among the 1,047 ballots cast in Alexandria, compared to 123 ballots cast on the first day of early voting in 2016.
“I just exercised my constitutional right,” Warner said after casting his ballot at the Alexandria Voter Registrar’s Office on North Royal Street. “And I strongly encourage all Virginians to take advantage of our new rules where you can vote early.”
Early voting opened across the state Sept. 18 and runs through Oct. 31. Alexandria voters can vote early Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Voter Registrar’s Office at 132 N. Royal St. with satellite polling places opening in October.
“Our first batch of 31,057 absentee ballots went out over the weekend.”
—Alexandria Registrar of Voters Angela Turner
“The Beatley Library will open for early voting Monday through Saturday from Oct. 23 through the Oct. 31 deadline,” said Alexandria Registrar of Voters Angela Turner. “Minnie Howard and George Washington Middle Schools will be open Oct. 24 and 31 for Saturday early voting.”
In addition to in-person early voting, voters may request an absentee ballot to vote by mail or for drop-off at a local polling station during early voting hours.
“Our first batch of 31,057 absentee ballots went out over the weekend,” Turner said. “About 1,000 more ballots have gone out since then.”
Turner said that Alexandria’s first voter showed up Sept. 18 at 6:15 a.m.
“By 8 a.m. we had a line but we moved through it quickly,” Turner said. “We maintained a bit of a line all day – about a 15-minute wait – but we were able to get voters through pretty consistently.”
The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 13. The last day to request an absentee/vote by mail ballot is 5 p.m. Oct. 23. All voters must be registered and show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot and all voters are able to request an absentee ballot.
Absentee ballots can be dropped off at 132 N. Royal St. during operating hours or at any of the satellite polling places once they open, Turner said. “On Election Day, ballots can also be dropped off at normal polling locations. We are working on the logistics of putting out a secure drop box but that is not in place at this time so ballots need to be dropped off during normal polling hours.”
Absentee ballots can be requested by mail or online at vote.elections.virginia.gov. A paper application can be downloaded from the absentee page at https://www.alexandriava.gov/Elections. The deadline to vote in-person absentee is 5 p.m. Oct. 31. Voters no longer need to give any reason to vote early.
Military and Overseas Voters can visit https://www.elections.virginia.gov/registration/military-overseas/ to learn more about voter registration and absentee voting options.
“If you are for me or against me, get out and have your voices heard.”
—Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) after casting his vote Sept. 18 in Alexandria
For those not registered to vote at their current address, the deadline to update that information is Oct. 13 at 5 p.m. Registration applications received after that date will be processed after the election. To submit or update registration information online, visit through the Virginia Department of Elections at https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation. Any eligible U.S. citizen who will be 18 years old by Nov. 3, 2020, is eligible to register.
To check your registration status and find your polling place, visit https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation, or call the Alexandria Voter Registration Office at 703-746-4050.
As of Tuesday, 2,725 Alexandria voters had cast ballots during early voting.
“In 2016, we had 13,547 absentee in-person ballots cast during early voting,” Turner said. “Another 7,629 ballots were cast by mail and 56,437 ballots cast in person on Election Day for a total turnout of 77,613. It’s hard to predict how things will go during this election.”
Warner, who is facing off against Republican Daniel Gade in this year’s election, said that over 800,000 absentee applications – more than triple than in 2016 – had been requested for this year’s election.
“Election Day is a state holiday this year,” Warner said. “This is the most important election of our lifetime. If you are for me or against me, get out and have your voices heard.”