RICHMOND, Va. -- There are only a few days left for registered voters in Virginia to vote early, in-person, if they want to cast their ballot prior to Election Day.
Already, election officials are reporting unprecedented levels of early voting in the Commonwealth.
The deadline to vote early, in-person at your local registrar’s office or a satellite location is this Saturday, October 31. Some local election offices are extending their hours that day to account for the final rush of early voters.
The deadline to apply for a mail-in absentee ballot has already passed.
Those who applied for mail-in ballots, but would like to return them in-person can still do so up until Election Day.
State officials said on November 3, voters can drop off their absentee ballots at secure locations at their usual polling places, although those ballots must be returned in the sealed envelope that is provided. Prior to Election Day, mail-in ballots can be dropped off at local registrar’s offices or satellite locations during their hours of operation.
You can look up where to vote early, drop off your mail-in ballot personally, and other voter information here.
As of Wednesday morning, nearly 2.2-million Virginians have already cast their ballots in this election. That includes more than 1.3-million voting early, in-person and more than 800,000 mail-in ballots that have been returned, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
More than 320,000 absentee ballots that were requested have not yet been returned, the Va. Department of Elections reports.
When looking just at the number of ballots returned to this point, 37% of registered voters in the Commonwealth have already voted. For comparison, 72% of registered voters cast ballots in the 2016 election, with only about 567,000 voting absentee.
“Virginia changed the rules so that you would have no excuse absentee voting, and that really promoted more localities opening up early vote sites. So what we’re seeing now is that almost half the vote in Virginia that we’re likely to see counted on Election Day is already in,” said CBS 6 Political Analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth. “The notion that campaigns are going to be swayed in the last days with all these undecided voters seems not to be the case this year.”
On the final Tuesday before polls officially close, a steady stream of voters filed into the Hanover Country Registrar’s office or pulled up to the curbside voting location. Every voter who spoke with CBS 6 shared a similar sentiment: they wanted to get their vote in early because the stakes for this election are so high.
Shawn and Loni Rogers took time out of their busy schedules to cast their ballots early.
“We’re actually in the process of moving,” Shawn Rogers said. “This election is definitely polarized. Everything is crazy right now.”
“With everything going on, I’ve really made it a priority to pay more attention, and I don’t know, I’m just more proud of my vote this year,” said Loni Rogers.
Kiera Gaines is used to voting absentee but not in-person.
“I actually used to live overseas, so my vote used to be different. I had to do it absentee, so it wasn’t often that I had to come to a voting station,” Gaines said.
“Growing up, voting was something we were pressed to do when we got older because our vote counts,” she said. “Interested to know the outcome. Everything now is really scary. I think every vote counts. I just hope that everyone comes out and votes, equally, fairly, and that our voices are heard.”
You can find more stories about local candidates, questions on the ballot, and combating disinformation, check the CBS 6 2020 Election page.