Got questions about voting? Great! We’ve got answers. Look through the list below, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.
- I’m registered to vote. Am I registered to vote? I think I’m registered to vote.
You can make sure right now! Visit the Virginia Department of Elections’s Citizen Portal. (Bookmark that link. We’ll be referring back to it a lot.) It’ll tell you your current registration status, and if you or anyone you know need to register, you can take care of it right there online.
The deadline to register to vote online or update your voter information for the Nov. 8, 2022 election is Oct. 17. However, you can still register to vote AND submit a provisional ballot at the registrar’s office during the early voting period or at your polling place on election day.
- I want to vote in person before Election Day.
Great news! You can do just that, without any excuse needed, thanks to new Virginia laws. Here in Albemarle County, youcan vote early — but not, we hasten to add, often — at the Albemarle County Office Building on 5th Street, south of I-64. (In another county? Look up your nearest office online.)
- I want to vote in person on Election Day.
Excellent! Show up at your usual polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Bring one of the required forms of ID — you no longer need to bring a photo ID, although they’re still valid, too! — and remember to be kind to your heroic, civic-minded election workers! Don’t know where your polling place is? Consult the Citizen Portal.
Early voting begins Friday, Sept. 23 and ends Saturday, Nov. 5. During that period, the office is open for voting every weekday, with special extended hours Tuesdays and Thursdays:
*Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
*Tuesdays: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
*Thursdays: 8:30 a.m.* to 7 p.m.
*Saturdays: October 29, 2022 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and November 5, 2022 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
- I want to vote by mail.
Fantastic! You can totally do that. Just act quickly and don’t wait. First, watch this video to learn the basics. All done? OK, how do you want to request a ballot — by mailing in an application, or completing an online form?
- I want to vote by mail and ask for a ballot in writing.
Easily done! Print out this form. Then watch this video and follow the instructions to fill it out. Mail your completed application for a ballot to:
Albemarle County Voter Registration
435 Merchant Walk Sq Ste 300
Charlottesville, VA 22902-6514
- I want to vote by mail and ask for a ballot online.
Even easier! Request a mail-in ballot for November’s election using the Citizen Portal. You’ll need your Virginia driver’s license and Social Security number to complete the online application. Once you’ve answered a few simple questions, you’re signed up to get a mail ballot as soon as the state starts mailing them out. Watch this video for step-by-step instructions.
- When does the state start mailing out ballots? When will I get mine?
Ballots get mailed out starting the same day as early voting — Sept. 23, 2022.
- How will I know my ballot is on its way? When I mail it in, how will I know if it’s arrived at the registrar’s office?
Yet again, the Citizen Portal is your friend. Right now, on your voter info page there, you can scroll down to the table marked “Absentee/Early Voting History,” and see when you requested a ballot, when the state mailed it to you, and when they received it from you. You can also track your ballot every step of the way with Ballot Scout.
- What’s the deadline for mailing in a ballot?
New Virginia law says that in order to count, your ballot must be postmarked by Election Day, and it must arrive at the registrar’s office by noon on the Friday after the election. That’s good! It means more votes will get counted! Thank your Democratic legislators in the General Assembly for that one. Every mail-in ballot that the registrars have received by election night will be counted on election night. (The rest will get counted as they come in, up until the deadline.) Mail back your ballot ASAP after you get it.
- How can I fill out my ballot correctly, to make sure it counts?
- Write down your full legal name — first, middle, and last — the same way it’s listed and spelled on your voter registration card. You can check how your name’s listed on the Citizen Portal (under “Check Registration Status”) to make sure you’ve got it right.
- If you’re a Junior, III, IV, etc., use a generational suffix if you’re registered at the same address with an elder or younger voter who shares your name. For example: If Hank Williams, Jr. and Hank Williams III both live at 123 Rowdy Friends Road, both Junior and his son need to add their respective generational suffixes to their names on their mail-in ballots; simply listing themselves as “Hank Williams” will leave election officials confused and their ballots disqualified.
- Provide your full address. That includes your house number and street name or your rural road address; your city; and your ZIP code. Again, you can use the Citizen Portal to make sure that information lines up with your registration.
- Make sure you and a witness sign the envelope in which you seal your completed ballot. When your blank ballot arrives in the mail, you’ll find three other envelopes inside. Envelope A, sealed, holds your blank, unfilled ballot, ready for you to cast your vote. Envelope B waits to seal up your completed ballot. And once that’s done, Envelope B goes into a third pre-addressed envelope for you to mail back. By Virginia law, you and a witness must both sign the outside of Envelope B in the properly marked places.
- Is a witness signature required on the mail-in ballot?
Yes, a witness signature is required on all mail-in ballots cast in the November 2022 elections. According to the Virginia Department of Elections, “If a ballot is missing a witness signature, the voter will be contacted within three days of receipt by the local voter registration office and asked to correct it. The ballot must be corrected by noon on Monday, November 14th in order to be counted.”
- I still don’t trust the Post Office. Can I send my ballot by UPS or FedEx instead?
You can! Virginia law specifically allows commercial services to deliver ballots. But private companies don’t have the USPS’s authority to postmark mail, so if you do send in your ballot this way, it must arrive at the registrar’s office by 7 p.m. on Election Day to count.
- If I don’t want to send my ballot in the mail, can I deliver it myself?
Of course! Just hand-deliver it to the dropbox at the County Office Building on 5th Street. You can also deliver it to your polling location on election day.
- What if I get my mail-in ballot just before the election, and I don’t have time to send it back?
That’s fine! You can still vote! Don’t open your mail-in ballot. Take the unopened ballot with you to your polling place and hand it over to the election officials. They’ll void it, you’ll get a regular ballot, and you can vote as usual.
- What if I request a mail-in ballot, but decide to vote in person instead?
Same deal as above! Just follow those steps and don’t sweat it. You’re fine.
- What if I mail in my ballot, but Election Day rolls around, and my mail-in ballot still hasn’t gotten to the registrar?
You, my friend, can still vote. Grab a relevant form of ID. Head to your local polling place. Explain the situation and ask for a provisional ballot. If your mail-in ballot arrives in time, it gets counted, and your provisional ballot gets tossed. If your mail-in ballot is late, your provisional ballot counts. You still only get one vote, but either way, your vote counts.
- It’s after Oct. 17, am I still able to register to vote?
Yes you can, thanks to a new Virginia law. You can register to vote AND submit a provisional ballot at the registrar’s office during the early voting period or at your polling place on election day.