RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Gov. Ralph Northam and Virginians across the commonwealth turned out to vote on the first day of the 45-day in-person voting period ahead of the November 2020 election.
Northam voted Friday morning at the Richmond general registrar’s office, and said Virginians can be sure their vote is secure whether it’s made in-person or by mail.
“Virginians can be confident their vote is secure, and will be counted,” Northam said. “While the pandemic has made this an unprecedented election year, Virginia voters have several safe and easy ways to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Voting is an essential part of our democracy, and I encourage every Virginia voter to know their options and make a plan for safely casting their ballot.”
New laws passed in 2020 allow for absentee voting both by mail and in-person without providing a reason for voting early. Voters previously had a limited number of excuses in order to vote absentee.
In-person voting is taking place at local registrar’s offices across the state, as well as satellite locations such as public libraries. It runs Sept. 18 through Oct. 31, the Saturday before Election Day (Nov. 3).
There was a relatively long line at the Virginia Beach registrar early Friday.
In Hampton, the Hampton branch of the NAACP is holding a National Black Voter Day event at noon at the satellite voting location at the old courthouse at 101 Kings Way.
Registrar Walt Latham in York County told WAVY that voters should bring their patience, with long lines expected. Remember there are 45 days to vote in-person.
“If everyone shows up, we may have a line. I’m not wanting to dissuade people from voting, but if they show up on Friday and there is a line [keep in mind] we are going to be doing this for the next few weeks through October,” Latham said.
In Fairfax, Virginia, CNN reported unprecedented long lines for the first day of in-person voting. Some said they lost faith in the U.S. Postal Service to deliver ballots, after recent troubles under Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
To find your satellite voting location, click here.
Mailed absentee ballots are also scheduled to be sent out to voters starting Friday, with more than 790,000 already requested as of this week, Gov. Northam said.
October 23 is the last day to request an absentee ballot by mail and October 13 is the last day to register to vote or update your address. Ballots with a postmark of November 3 or earlier will be accepted until noon on Friday, November 6.
For more on voting in Virginia, visit the Department of Elections’ website.
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