Virginia’s 2020 Voter Guide: Ways to vote, what you need to know and finding an open polling location on Election Day

Your Local Election HQ

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC / WFXR) — More than 1.3 million Virginians have already voted in the 2020 election. For some perspective, just under 4 million registered voters in Virginia cast their ballot in the 2016 presidential election and nearly 567,000 of those voted absentee.

These figures indicate how eager voters in Virginia are to return their ballot early and the enthusiasm for this election season.

The entrance to the Hanover County general registrar’s office. (Photo taken by 8News’ Dean Mirshahi)

Key dates to remember and polling hours

Polls in Virginia open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. on Election Day. If a voter is in line by 7 p.m., they will be allowed to vote. The deadline to register to vote in Virginia was extended but has since passed.

Deadlines in Virginia

To request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you: request must be received by local registrar by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

Requesting an absentee ballot in-person/voting early in-person: Oct. 31

Virginia must certify election results: Nov. 16

How to vote in Virginia hasn’t changed much. What has changed are the rules for absentee voting. Lawmakers passed measures to make voting easier, including making Election Day a state holiday, a new law permitting no-excuse absentee voting and allowing localities to set up ballot drop off boxes.

Absentee voting – mail-in and in-person

Early voting at local registrar’s offices began on Sept. 18 and ends on Oct. 31. There are also satellite locations where people can vote early or submit their ballot. For example, Chesterfield County is using four county libraries as early voting locations.

Voters in Virginia can drop off their ballots inside designated boxes set up in their districts or in their mailbox. Those who submit a ballot through the mail can track it online as all absentee ballots in Virginia have a bar code on them with an individual number posted on it.


Voters who are blind, have low vision, or impaired manual dexterity can vote absentee using an electronic ballot marking tool that will deliver the ballot electronically. Those who need the assistance can request it when applying for an absentee ballot.

Anyone with a disability can use an accessible voting machine at a polling location and any voter 65 or older or with a disability can vote without leaving their vehicle. Virginians using curbsidevoting should park in a designated parking space and follow the instructions outside their polling location.

One option that’s also still available: voting on Election Day.

Voters wait in line at Richmond’s general registrar’s office in September. (Photo taken by 8News’ Dean Mirshah)

The coronavirus pandemic has changed our elections, prompting unprecedented spikes in absentee voting across the country, altering how polling locations operate and dictating which ones will remain open for Election Day.

Find which polling locations have changed below and how to find your specific location here.

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