Voter guide: What you need to know before casting your ballot during the coronavirus pandemic

Your Local Election HQ

FILE – In this March 10, 2020, file photo, a man votes in the presidential primary election at the the Summit View Church of the Nazarene in Kansas City, Mo. A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, April 29, 2020, that proof of citizenship requirement for Kansas voter registration is unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Elections will look a little different in the summer of 2020 than they have in previous years. Concerns about community spread of COVID-19 have forced the push back of elections in May and June, and Virginia officials are asking people to vote absentee as often as possible.

In May, several general and special elections were held across the state a couple weeks later than originally scheduled. They included some localities in Hampton Roads and on the Eastern Shore. These elections determined positions like mayor, city and town council members, and school board members across Southeastern Virginia.

The Democratic and Republican primary elections for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives will take place in June.

10 On Your Side is Your Local Election Headquarters. We have put together a comprehensive how-to guide for voters that includes information on polling locations, casting absentee ballots, and registering to vote.

WHEN ARE UPCOMING ELECTIONS?

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on April 24 that general and special elections scheduled for May and the June primary will be postponed to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

General and special elections were originally scheduled for May 5 in 56 localities across Virginia, including Hampton Roads. These elections instead took place on May 19. The June primary was originally scheduled for June 9, but will now be held on June 23.

Northam has encouraged Virginians to cast their vote by mail; however, polling locations will be open for in-person voting.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

In Virginia, polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Voters in line at 7 p.m. will be able to vote. Residents who choose to vote in-person can visit the Virginia Department of Elections website to access their polling location. Residents must vote at the polling location assigned to their address.

Voters do not need to bring proof of registration, but must bring a photo ID. Find a list of acceptable photo IDs on the Virginia Department of Election’s website.

Voters who go to a polling place without a photo ID can cast a provisional ballot. They will be required to submit a copy of a valid ID by noon on Friday after the election is held.

CASTING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT

Voters can request an absentee ballot online. They can also download a request form and mail it in to the local General Registrar’s office.

According to the Department of Elections, voters completing an online application to request an absentee ballot can follow the prompts and select “I have a reason or condition that prevents me from going to the polls on Election Day.” From there, they can select “my disability or illness” as the reason.

Mailed-in requests for absentee ballots must be received by 5 p.m. on June 16 for the June 23 primary. Additionally, the completed mailed ballots must be returned to and received by the local General Registrar by 7 p.m. on election day.

General Registrar location information can be found online.

Those requesting an absentee ballot by mail can use reason 2A, “my disability or illness” to complete their form.

REGISTERING TO VOTE

The deadline to register to vote in the primary is Tuesday, May 26. Residents can check their voter registration or register to vote online.

WHO’S ON THE BALLOT IN VIRGINIA?

10 On Your Side compiled a list of candidates for the May 19 special and general elections.

We are working on special candidate profiles for the June 23 primary. Those candidate profiles will be published closer to election time.


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