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The Nuts and Bolts of Voting

Register to Vote

In Virginia

The deadline for registering to vote has been extended to Thursday, October 15.

It’s easy to register online in Virginia! Simply visit the Virginia Department of Elections' website.

Virginians can also register by mail. To obtain a voter registration form, you can download the Virginia Voter Registration Application [PDF]. (Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean versions of the form are available on the Department of Elections' 'How to Register' web page.) Forms can also be found at public libraries, DMV offices, armed forces recruitment offices, voter registration drives and a variety of other state and local government offices, listed on the Department of Elections' 'How to Register' web page.

Once you have filled out the form, mail it to this address (postmarked on or before Oct. 15):

Virginia Department of Elections
1100 Bank St.
Richmond, VA 23219

If you live outside of the Richmond metropolitan area, you can find your local registration office by visiting the Department of Elections' local voter registration office web page.

Virginians can register in person on or before October 15 at local registration offices, which can be found by visiting the Department of Elections' local voter registration office web page Richmond’s office happens to be very close to the MCV campus – in City Hall, at 900 E. Broad St. room 105.

Additional information about Virginia registration can be found on the Department of Elections' 'How to Register' web page or its Citizen Portal.

Outside Virginia

Registration deadlines and processes in other states vary. A reliable resource for information about voting outside of Virginia can be found at vote.org.


Vote in Person (in Virginia) On or Before Nov. 3

Polling places in Virginia will be open 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Nov. 3. Find my polling place.

Want to vote in person before Election Day?

Registered voters can vote in person early (before Nov. 3) from September 18 through Saturday, October 31. However, early voters must go to their local registration offices, which are not as convenient as polling places. (Richmond’s is located at 2134 W. Laburnum Ave.).

You must bring an ID. Any of the following IDs will be accepted:

  • Voter confirmation documents (e.g. a registration card mailed to you)
  • Virginia driver’s license (active; not expired)
  • Virginia DMV-issued photo ID
  • Student ID issued by any community college or university located in the United States
  • Employer-issued photo ID
  • U.S. passport
  • Other U.S. or Virginia government-issued photo ID
  • Tribal enrollment or other tribal photo ID
  • Virginia Voter Photo ID card
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document containing the name and address of the voter

More options may be found on the Department of Elections' voter identification document [PDF].


Vote By Mail (Absentee Ballot)

In Virginia

If you want to vote by mail in Virginia, the deadline for an absentee ballot request is October 23 at 5:00 p.m. However, because of ongoing U.S. Post Office delays, we recommend voters request an absentee ballot by October 1.

It’s easy to request an absentee ballot online! Simply visit the Virginia Department of Elections' portal.

Virginians can also request an absentee ballot by mail by downloading the Virginia Vote by Mail Application Form [PDF]. (Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean versions of the form are available on the Department of Elections' absentee and early voting page.)

Visit the Department of Elections' Citizen Portal.

If your request is approved, your ballot will arrive in the mail.

Once you have completed your absentee ballot, it must be postmarked and sent to your local general registrar’s office by November 3 at 7:00 p.m. However, because of ongoing U.S. Post Office delays, we recommend you send your postmarked absentee ballot by October 20 to:

Virginia Department of Elections
1100 Bank St.
Richmond, VA 23219

If you live outside of the Richmond metropolitan area, you can find your local registration office by visiting the Department of Elections' local voter registration office web page.

Outside Virginia

For vote by mail rules and deadlines for all 50 U.S. states, the National Conference on State Legislatures' deadlines for absentee ballots page. View additional information from NCSL on voting outside the polling place.

There is a clear scholarly consensus that voting by mail is safe and secure. Cases of fraud are exceedingly rare. Here are some articles in non-partisan sources about the safety and integrity of voting by mail: