Time to Vote

Time to Vote

— This Friday, Sept. 17, marks the first day of early voting here in Virginia for the important Nov. 2 gubernatorial and state delegates election. We expanded early voting in Virginia to begin 45 days prior to an election, providing citizens with ample time to exercise their right to vote around their own schedules. Thanks to the leadership of our Democratic majority prioritizing voting rights in the General Assembly during the last two years, Virginia now ranks as the 12th easiest state in the country to vote in, a meteoric climb of 37 places since 2016. Just to name a few of the critical enhancements to voting in Virginia, we have enacted an automatic voter registration law, eliminated the photo ID requirement, created no-excuse absentee voting, and made Election Day a state holiday.

The deadline to register to vote or update your registration is Oct. 12. If you want to vote absentee by mail, you must request a ballot from the office of elections by Oct. 22. You can do this online and it takes only a minute or two. Oct. 30 is the last day for early in-person voting ahead of the election. To return your absentee ballot by mail, your ballot must be postmarked by Election Day and received by the office of elections by noon no later than three days after Election Day. Cast ballots can also be put in a drop-off box at any early voting site during the hours they’re open. There is also a secure, 24-hour drop-off box available outside the Fairfax County Government Center. If an absentee voter chooses to vote in person after receiving a ballot by mail, they should bring and surrender the ballot when they visit the poll.

Three early voting sites in Fairfax County will open on Friday, Sept. 17, with one of them here and easily accessible in Mount Vernon: the Mount Vernon Governmental Center at 2511 Parkers Lane. The other locations are the Fairfax County Government Center and the North County Government Center. Voters from anywhere in the County can cast their ballots at any one of these three locations, which is why you may see political signs from Delegate candidates from all over the county here at the Mount Vernon voting site. But you can only vote for one of your district’s candidates. (Hint: if you live in the 44th district, here in much of Mount Vernon and some of Lee, I am your Delegate and running for re-election!)

The Fairfax County Government Center will be open for early voting on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. At the Mount Vernon and North County Governmental Centers, voting hours are from noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays. These three sites will be open on Saturday, Sept.18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thirteen other early voting sites across the county will open beginning on Oct. 21. Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/early-voting for locations and hours. This year will mark the first time we have added Sunday voting, which will take place at these locations on Oct. 24 from 1 to 5 p.m. Also, keep in mind that if there is a line at the end of the voting period during any early voting date, you may still cast your ballot, as long as you were in the line prior to the 5 p.m. — or 7 p.m. on weekdays — poll closing time. That was a bill I introduced three years ago.

What will be on your ballot when you receive it? As a Fairfax County voter, you will have the opportunity to cast your vote for three statewide offices: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General; and for your House of Delegates member; in addition to a $360 million public school bond question.

What should you bring with you when you go to vote? Virginia law requires all voters to provide either an acceptable form of ID or sign an ID Confirmation Statement at the polls. While photo IDs are no longer required to vote, they remain an acceptable form of identification, and an expired Virginia driver’s license will be accepted no matter how long it has been expired. In addition, utility bills, bank statements, paychecks, valid student IDs, and many other documents can be used as identification; visit www.elections.virginia.gov for a full list of accepted identification. Voters who do not present an acceptable form of ID may vote provisionally, which means a voter will have until noon on the Friday following the election to deliver a copy of their identification or sign and submit an ID Confirmation Statement to the local electoral board in order for their vote to count.

As always, you can visit https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation to register to vote, update your current Virginia voter registration, apply to vote absentee by mail, or view your polling place, election district, absentee ballot status, and voting history.

You can view sample ballots and details of the school bond at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/sample-ballots

See you at the polls this season, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office with any voting questions or concerns that I can assist with. It is my honor to represent you in the Virginia House of Delegates.