Court approves agreement to promote safe absentee voting by mail ahead of Virginia primaries

Virginia Politics

FILE – In this Jan. 17, 2020, file photo, a poll worker speaks with a voter as Minneapolis Early Voting Center opened, in Minneapolis. Early voting in the crush of Super Tuesday states that hold primaries on March 3 amounts to a parallel campaign for the Democratic nomination. While much of the focus is on who will come out on top in the traditional first four voting states, early voting will allow a much broader swath of voters to play a key role in picking the nominee. In Minnesota, in-person early voting began Jan. 17. Vermont’s deadline to mail out its absentee ballots was the same day. Many of the 14 Super Tuesday states will offer some form of early voting between now and mid-February. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced that an agreement to promote safe absentee voting by mail in the upcoming June 23 primaries has been approved.

Under the agreement, the Commonwealth will accept absentee ballots without the signature of a witness “for voters who believe they may not safely have a witness present while completing their ballot.”

“This agreement is a win for Virginia voters and a win for democracy,” said Attorney General Herring. “No Virginian should ever have to put their own health and safety at risk to exercise their right to vote.”

“Now, susceptible Virginians will not have to jeopardize their well-being and violate social distancing measures to cast their ballot by mail.”

The agreement is limited only to the June 23 primaries.

This comes as Chesapeake and Norfolk registrars suggest to “vote at home” ahead of local elections.

Governor Ralph Northam extended the May 5 election by two weeks, to May 19. 

Governor Northam suggests mail-in ballots, as the safest way to vote during the pandemic. Voters can request an absentee ballot online, or you can download a request form and mail it to the registrars office. When requesting an absentee ballot, you may select “2A” disability or illness as a reason, according to the Department of Elections.

The deadline for mail-in requests must be received by May 12 at 5 p.m.

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