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Election Day

Early Voting FAQ

  • What are the important dates in the 2024 General Election cycle?
    Presidential Primary Early Voting begins: January 19, 2024 Election Day: March 5, 2024 State Primary (US Senate and House of Representatives) Early Voting begins: May 3, 2024 Election Day: June 18, 2024 General Election Early Voting Begins: September 20, 2024 Election Day: November 5, 2024
  • How do I register to vote? (Virginia Department of Elections - How to Register) To be eligible to vote in Virginia you must: Be a resident of Virginia (a person who has come to Virginia for temporary purposes and intends to return to another state is not considered a resident for voting purposes). Be a U. S. Citizen. Be 18 years old (any person who is 17 years old and will be eighteen years of age at the next general election shall be permitted to register in advance and also vote in any intervening primary or special election). Not be registered and plan to vote in another state. Not currently declared mentally incompetent by a court of law. If convicted of a felony, your right to vote must have been restored. There are several ways to register: · Online Registration (In our opinion this is the easiest way to register) · In person at your local voter registration office · Download a PDF copy of the registration form (En Español) The completed application can be filed with the local registration office or mailed to the address printed on the form. State or local government offices when applying or re-certifying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), SNAP, WIC, Medicaid, or Rehabilitation Services. Government offices in the State that provide State-funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to person with disabilities Armed forces recruitment offices Public libraries Virginia Department of Elections office Department of Motor Vehicles offices Voter Registration Drives Application for registration can be submitted using a Virginia Voter Registration Application form or a National Voter Registration Application form. Military and other persons residing outside of the United States should contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program for registration information. Once you have submitted your registration form, you should receive an information card or other correspondence confirming your registration status. If you do not receive one, contact your local Registrar’s Office to make sure that your application has been processed. You can also check for your voter record online. Please note that an information card or other correspondence confirming your voter registration status does not qualify as photo identification. For information on qualified identification for voting in person, or how to obtain a Voter Photo Identification card, please visit: or call toll free at (800) 552-9745 or TTY: 711
  • Can I register to vote and vote on the same day?
    Yes, you can. There will be some paperwork (the registration process) and you’ll be given a Provisional Ballot. Provisional Ballots are reviewed by the Electoral Board during the Canvass the day after Election Day. If your registration is approved (i.e., you are legal to vote in the precinct in which you registered) your Provisional Ballot will count.
  • Where do I vote?
    We recommend you check your voting location at the Virginia Department of Elections Citizen Portal. Williamsburg. The city redrew its precinct lines effective July 1, 2023, making the Matoaka Precinct larger and if you live in the Southeast area of Williamsburg, you may now be in the Matoaka Precinct. You can view the new precinct map here (be patient, the map loads slowly). James City County. If you live in James City County and have not voted since 2021 or earlier you should be aware that all the precincts, except for Roberts A, have been redrawn. Prior to the 2020 Census, the county had 19 precincts divided into five districts – Berkeley, Jamestown, Powhatan, Roberts, and Stonehouse. In conjunction with the census, Virginia redrew Congressional and State Senate and House of Delegate district boundaries. Local Offices of Elections also redrew precinct lines to balance the number of voters more evenly in the new precincts. James City County now has 18 precincts distributed among the same five districts. The only precinct that has remained unchanged is Roberts A in the very south end of JCC. These new precincts went into effect for the 2022 congressional election. Within James City County there are two State Senate Districts, the 24th and 26th, and two House of Delegate districts, the 69th and 71st. All precincts are within the 1st Congressional District. You can see the new precinct map here. The chart below illustrates the offices that will be on the ballot in each election through 2034. The chart below illustrates the offices that will be on the ballot in each election through 2034.
  • What is early voting?
    Early voting is a process in which voters can vote before Election Day. Virginia is a No Excuse Absentee State — you do not need to have a reason or excuse to vote early or absentee. There are two ways you can vote before Election Day. Voting in person and voting by mail. During the 2022 General Election, JCC residents cast a total of 37,803 ballots. Of those, 13,098 were cast in person during the early voting period and 3,549 ballots were returned by mail. These two methods of early voting accounted for 44% of the total ballots cast that year. Similarly, 2,385 (47%) of the 5,098 ballots in Williamsburg were cast either early in-person or by mail. Both methods are technically forms of absentee voting and use the same ballot you would get on Election Day. When you cast your ballot in person or your mail ballot is received by the registrar, you’ll be logged in the voter roll as having provided a ballot. These ballots are not tallied until the polls close on Election Day.
  • What types of ID are accepted to vote?
    Voter Identification All voters casting a ballot in-person will be asked to show one form of identification. Any voter who does not present acceptable identification may instead sign a statement, subject to felony penalties, that they are the named registered voter who they claim to be. Any voter who does not present acceptable identification or sign this statement must vote a provisional ballot. *“Valid” means the document is genuine and is not expired for more than twelve months, except for a Virginia driver’s license or DMV-issued ID card, for which the expiration date should not be considered when determining its validity. ** Source: Virginia Code
  • Why should I vote early?
    1. If you’re concerned about the security of the voting process, voting as early as possible will secure your vote. Did you know that you don’t need an ID to vote in Virginia? (See FAQ “What types of ID are accepted to vote”) When you vote, you’ll be logged as Already Voted in the poll book and no other ballot can be cast in your name. Gov Youngkin, in conjunction with the Republican Party of Virginia, is leading the Secure Your Vote Virginia campaign to get Virginia Republicans to vote early. 2. Waiting until election day is like putting all your eggs in one basket. Today’s elections are won by very slim margins. The opposition outperforms us in early and absentee-by-mail voting. So, by the time Election Day arrives we are playing catchup. How many things can go wrong and prevent you from getting to the poll on the last possible day you can vote? The early voting period for the 2023 General Election starts Friday, September 22nd. You’ll have 33 days, including the last two Saturdays (October 28th and November 4th), of opportunity to cast your vote before Election Day (November 7th). 3. An early or absentee-by-mail vote is just as valid as a ballot cast on Election Day. In fact, you’ll use the very same type of ballot you’d receive at your precinct on Election Day. 4. Ballots cast in person at the Vote Centers aren’t tabulated until the polls close. When you vote early, you’ll be logged as Already Voted in the pollbook and mail ballots are annotated returned in the pollbook, so the “system” knows you’ve voted, but not whom you voted for. No one knows how many votes were cast for any candidate until they are tabulated after the polls close on Election Day.
  • Why should I vote early in person? Also read “Why should I vote early?” in this FAQ.
    1. If you’re concerned about the security of the voting process, voting as early as you can in the election process secures your vote. Did you know that you don’t even need an ID to vote in Virginia? (See FAQ “What types of ID are accepted to vote”) When you vote, you’ll be logged as Already Voted in the poll book and no other ballot can be cast in your name. 2. Instead of relying on your ability to get to the polls on a single weekday, you can pick a time that works for you, from a range of dates and hours. a. Williamsburg residents – the early Voting Center is the General Registrar’s Office in the Municipal Building, 401 Lafayette Street. Open 8 AM – 5 PM. b. JCC residents – early voting is done at Vote Center, 4095 Ironbound Road. Open 8 AM – 5 PM. 3. Early voting provides flexibility to voters who can’t take time off to vote during the week. Saturday voting offers new opportunities if you can’t get to the Early Vote Center during the week. This year Williamsburg and JCC Vote Centers will be open on October 28th and November 4th, the last two Saturdays prior to election day, from 8AM-5PM. 4. Lines are usually very short to non-existent. Most of the time you’ll walk right in with no waiting in JCC and Williamsburg.
  • If I vote early in person, why do I need to know my home precinct since there’s only one voting location open during early voting?
    Williamsburg has two precincts. Both will use the same ballot in the 2023 election. James City County is a different story. The 18 precincts are divided into five districts. The entire county will vote on the same constitutional offices and Soil & Water Board members, but three districts will be electing a Supervisor and a School Board member. The county is also split between two State Senate and two House of Delegate districts. Because of these local elections and state-level district divisions, the county will be using six different ballots in the 2023 election. County election officials do an excellent job in providing voters with the correct ballot, but we recommend you become familiar with the offices and names you should see on your ballot. You can check your precinct on the State Board of Election’s Citizen Portal. Once you know your home precinct, you can see a list of Republican and Republican Endorsed Candidates under the “Where do I vote” question in this section.
  • Why vote absentee by mail? Also read “Why should I vote early?” in this FAQ.
    Requesting an Absentee by Mail ballot helps secure your vote. You will be logged in the Poll Book as requesting the ballot and, when the ballot is mailed to you, your designation is changed to having been mailed a ballot. If you complete and return the ballot no one else may cast a ballot in your name. 2. Voting Absentee by Mail is as easy as shopping online. You can request your absentee ballot online at the Virginia Department of Elections Citizen Portal or Gov Youngkin’s Secure Your Vote Virginia. Your ballot will arrive by mail and you can return it by mail. You don’t have to go any further than your own mailbox.
  • How do I request an Absentee by Mail ballot?
    · You can apply online at the Virginia Voter Information – Citizen Portal or Secure Your Vote Virginia · Complete the application in person to your local Registrar’s Office · Download the form and mail or deliver it to your local Registrar’s Office When you get your application, we recommend checking “Yes” to the question in Section 4, “Do you want to vote by mail for all future elections?” Selecting this option will put your name on the Permanent Absentee List and you’ll automatically receive a mail ballot in future elections. You’ll also have the option to receive ballots for Primary Elections and which party’s ballot you’d like to get.
  • How do I return a ballot that was mailed to me?
    Inside the envelope you receive you’ll find a preaddressed and postage paid rturn envelope, a security envelope that will ask for your information so the Registrar can confirm it’s you, and the ballot. The ballot is exactly the same as the ballot you’d receive at a polling place. There are three ways to return you ballot. 1. Mail it, take it to your own or a public mailbox. Keep in mind your envelope must be postmarked no later than Election Day and received by noon on the third day after the election (usually the following Friday). 2. Take it to a drop box. These will be collocated with polling places. JCC had two satellite drop boxes last year but from now on there will only be one during early voting and it’s at the Registrar’s office. In Williamsburg, the Municipal Building, where the Registrar’s office is located, is the location of the drop box during early voting. On Election Day, every precinct polling location will have a drop box where you can deposit your ballot without needing to go into the actual polling place. 3. Return it directly to the Registrar (meaning hand it to them). You’ll need your ID to had it directly to the Registrar or one of the Registrar’s Staff. Note: If, after you’ve returned your ballot by any of the above methods, and the Registrar notifies you that required security envelope information is missing or doesn’t match their records, you’ll need to go into the Registrar’s office in person to correct the error. This is known as “curing” your ballot. If you don’t, your ballot will not be scanned (i.e., your vote will not be counted).
  • Can I vote in person if I’ve been mailed an absentee ballot?
    Absolutely – even if you’ve already marked it with your choices! Just take the ballot you received in the mail with you. Tell the Officer of Elections that you want to surrender your mail ballot and vote in person, and they’ll take it from there.
  • Can I vote in person if I requested an absentee ballot but never received it, lost it, or my dog ate it?
    Yes. When you request an absentee-by-mail ballot you’ll be annotated in the poll book as having been sent a ballot when it goes out. That annotation will show up when you go into the polling place to vote in person. Tell them you never got the mail ballot, or lost it, etc. You’ll need to fill out and sign a statement to that effect (perjury penalties apply) and you’ll be given a Provisional Ballot. That ballot will be reviewed by the Electoral Board during the Canvass the day after Election Day. If the ballot that was mailed to you (identified by the personal information you’d provide on the security envelope) has not been returned your Provisional Ballot will count.
  • Why does Virginia hold elections in odd numbered years?
    It’s an accident. Virginians first gained the right to directly elect a governor through the 1851 constitution; they did so that year and in 1855, 1859 and 1863. The Civil War interrupted the normal course of things thereafter, and in late 1867 and early 1868 a constitutional convention gathered to write a new state constitution as part of reconstruction. That constitution was scheduled to be ratified in the summer of 1868 and specified that the first governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general to be elected and serve under that constitution would be elected on the same day.” Had that held, Virginia’s gubernatorial election would have fallen during the same year as the presidential contest. But it didn’t. For a variety of reasons, the ratification referendum and the associated general election got put off until the summer of 1869. At that time, voters ratified the constitution and elected a governor, and that started the four-year cycle for Virginia’s three top elected officials. Ever since then, we’ve elected the governor on the year after a presidential election. Source: Why Does Virginia Hold Elections In Off-Off Years? | WAMU
  • Why does Virginia have a one-term limit for governor?
    In Virginia, no governor can stand for immediate re-election, though they can serve non-consecutive terms. That prohibition is a legacy of a resentment of royal authority at the time of the American Revolution because the way royal authority was exercised in Virginia was through the office of governor. From 1776 to 1830, the General Assembly selected the governor for a one-year term and a limit of three consecutive terms. After 1830, the term was changed to three years, but with no ability for re-election. That prohibition remained in place in the 1851 constitution, which allowed for the popular election of governor for the first time. No other state in the union similarly prohibits a governor from standing for re-election. Source: Why Does Virginia Hold Elections In Off-Off Years? | WAMU
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