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Virginia absentee ballot guide

Last updated: June 25, 2020
  • In Virginia, you can apply for an absentee ballot online, by-mail , or in-person.

Virginia’s 2020 General Assembly passed no-excuse absentee voting into law. No-excuse absentee voting will begin with the November 2020 General Election. Prior to the November General Election, absentee voters must still provide an excuse. While COVID-19 remains a public health threat, voters who are concerned about COVID-19 may vote absentee using the reason code 2A.

Both the May General/Special Elections and the June Primary dates have changed per the Virginia Governor's Executive Order 56 and Executive Order 59. The Virginia Department of Elections encourages voters to protect their health during COVID-19 outbreak. Voting absentee in the coming May and June elections is strongly encouraged.

Voters may choose reason "2A My disability or illness" for absentee voting in the May and June 2020 elections due to COVID-19. Voters who choose the absentee option should do so as soon as possible so they can get their ballots in time to return them by mail by Election Day.

Absentee ballot deadlines

  • In-person: 3 days before Election Day
  • By-mail: Received 11 days before Election Day
  • Online: 11 days before Election Day
  • Voted absentee ballots are due: Postmarked by Election Day

Who can vote by absentee ballot in Virginia

You may get an absentee ballot and vote by mail in Virginia if:

  • you are a student (or the spouse of a student) attending college or university outside of your Virginia locality
  • you have business outside your county/city of residence on Election Day
  • you have personal business or vacation outside county/city of residence on Election Day
  • you are working and commuting to/from home for 11 or more hours between 6am and 7pm on Election Day
  • you are a first responder (member of law enforcement, fire fighter, emergency technician, search and rescue)
  • you have a disability or illness
  • you may give reason "a disability or illness" for Absentee voting in the June 2020 elections due to COVID-19
  • you are primarily and personally responsible for the care of a disabled/ill family member confined at home
  • you are pregnant
  • you are confined, and awaiting trial, or convicted of a misdemeanor
  • you are an electoral board member, registrar, officer of election, or custodian of voting equipment
  • you have a religious obligation that prevents you from voting on Election Day
  • you are an active duty member of the Armed Forces or Merchant Marine (or the spouse of an active duty member)
  • you are temporarily residing outside of the US
  • you moved to another state less than 30 days before a presidential election (you will only receive a ballot for the presidential/vice-presidential election; ballots for other offices/issues will not be sent)
  • you are an authorized representative of candidate or party serving inside the polling place
  • you have been granted a protective order by a court

Apply online (recommended)

  1. You can apply for an absentee ballot online in Virginia.
  2. We recommend this option, since it is faster than applying by-mail or in-person.
  3. The deadline to apply online is: 11 days before Election Day.

Apply by-mail or in-person

  1. Download and fill out the Virginia absentee ballot application.
  2. Sign and date your form.
  3. Mail or hand-deliver your completed form directly to your local election office. You should submit your form as soon as possible, but no later than the deadline.
  4. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by-mail is: Received 11 days before Election Day.
  5. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot in-person is: 3 days before Election Day.

Your absentee ballot should arrive within a week of your application. If it doesn’t arrive, call your local election office and follow up.

Once your ballot arrives

  1. Once you receive your absentee ballot, carefully read and follow the instructions.
  2. Mail or hand-deliver your completed absentee ballot to your local elections office. Your ballot must be received by the deadline or it will not be counted.
  3. Your voted absentee ballot must be postmarked by Election Day.

Confused? Need help?

Contact your local elections office if you have any questions about absentee ballots in Virginia.