Here are some of the ways general registrars are preparing for the 2020 election

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Seventy days out, and preparations for the 2020 General Election is in full swing, with local registrars focused on keeping the process safe and honest amid COVID-19.

In Virginia, November also brings significant changes to the states’ voting laws that were passed prior to the pandemic. No longer do you need to show a photo ID at the ballot box and you no longer need an excuse to vote absentee.

As a matter of fact, you can vote early and in-person. Because a record number of voters are expected to mail in their ballots, some local registrars are asking you to take advantage of the new opportunities this year.

Absentee ballots can be received until noon the third day after the election.

In a presentation, last week to the Board of Supervisors, York County General Registrar Walt Latham said that will likely result in not knowing on election night who the winner is.

“If people want to vote and want the results known, they need to get out and vote on Election Day, or in-person early, or get their ballot in early to make the deadline of Election Day,” Latham said.

But how can people ensure voting early, in-person or otherwise will result in their ballot being actively counted?

Latham said his department is looking to hire more staff in order to try to prepare for an influx of mail-in ballots and purchased a high-speed scanner that can count 72 ballots a minute. A typical machine process 10 to 11 ballots a minute, Latham said.

Norfolk General Registrar Stephanie Iles told City Council Tuesday that her department is also looking at buying a new scanner.

“We plan on doing what is called pre-processing of absentee ballots. Basically scan the ballots ahead of election day that have been received, but they will be tabulated on election day to be counted,” Iles said. “So we won’t know anything till election day on who voted for what.”

Iles explained security will be tight at the satellite locations.

​”We’re trying to get the WiFi, MiFi access so each location when it’s operating will be talking to each other so a person can not go to point A, point B, point C, to point D and vote more than once,” Iles said.

Find more information on the WAVY.com Voter Guide.


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