Countdown to voter registration deadline sees big push for online registration

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RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – There are only ten days left until the deadline for voter registration ahead of Election Day. There’s a big push to get people to do it online.

Since 2016, the Virginia Department of Elections has offered online registration through its website.

The Voter Registration Coordinator Garry Ellis has seen a lot of change over the more than 20 years he’s been with the department. He says they’ve been adapting with the times to the needs of voters.

“Things have changed and technology is changing. Younger folks, Millennials and whatnot, they do most of their stuff online,” he said. “That was one of the mechanisms that was developed to make voter registration more accessible.”

When the online portal opened in 2016 ahead of the Presidential Election, 339,012 people signed up using the portal. Last year, it was 41,597 and so far this year it’s 118,691.

All you have to do is go to www.elections.virginia.gov. Then, click on register to vote. There, you’ll be asked a series of questions. You’ll need to know your social security number, date of birth and your DMV customer identification number.

“The only information that’s required for you to submit the online transaction is that you have a DMV customer ID number,” Ellis said.

That DMV customer identification number allows the state to make sure you are who you say you are, since all of your other personal information is tied to it. The signature associated with that identification also signs off on your voter registration.

Ellis says it’s easier to fill out this application online too for the registrar’s office because the information is directly sent to it.

“Legibility on applications becomes an issue. When you’re entering it online, there is no ambiguity in what you may have written or entered,” Ellis said.

If you’re worried about putting your sensitive information online, Ellis reassures the Citizens’ Portal is safe.

“It is very secure. More so than paper,” he said.

The deadline will be here before you know it, so take the time now before it’s too late.

“But the longer you wait the less time you have should there be an issue with the application,” Ellis said.

You have to register by Oct. 15 for the Nov. 6 election. You can vote absentee in person until Nov. 3. If you’re filling out the ballot and mailing it, it has to be at your local registrar’s office by 7 p.m. on Election Day. 
 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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