Virginia absentee and mail ballot guide
Virginia absentee ballot overview
Absentee ballots and mail ballots are the same thing, and the process for getting one is straight forward.
- Request your ballot by the deadline
- Receive your in ballot in the mail
- Return your ballot by the deadline
Virginia absentee deadlines
- Earliest day to apply: 365 days before Election Day
- Request deadline (online): 11 days before Election Day
- Request deadline (by mail): Received 11 days before Election Day
- Request deadline (in person): 11 days before Election Day
- Deadline to return your ballot (by mail): Postmarked by Election Day
- Deadline to return your ballot (in person): Received by Election Day
Virginia absentee ballot rules
If you have voted at least once in Virginia, you may request an absentee ballot and vote by mail. If you are a first-time VA voter and you did not register to vote in person, you can only vote by absentee ballot if one of the following is true:
- you are a student attending college/university outside of your city/county of residence in Virginia,
- you have a disability or illness that prevents you from voting in person,
- you are pregnant,
- you are confined awaiting trial or you are confined following conviction for a misdemeanor,
- you are active duty merchant marine or in the armed forces or a spouse or dependent of an active duty service member,
- you are temporarily residing outside of the United States,
- you have moved to another state less than thirty days before a Presidential election and you are requesting a ballot for Presidential and Vice-Presidential electors only,
- you are age 65 or older.
Virginia online ballot request (recommended)
- Visit the Virginia absentee ballot website.
- Fill out all of the required information.
- Hit save or submit when you are done.
- The deadline to apply online is: 11 days before Election Day.
Virginia by-mail ballot request
- Download the Virginia absentee ballot application.
- Fill out all of the required fields.
- Print the application.
- Sign and date your application. This is very important.
- Mail or hand-deliver your completed application directly to your local election office as soon as possible, but no later than the deadline.
- If it’s close to the deadline, call your local election office and see if they will let you submit your application via email or fax.
- The deadline to apply by mail is: Received 11 days before Election Day.
Virginia in-person ballot request
- Visit your local election office.
- Ask the clerk to give you an absentee ballot application.
- Fill out all of the required fields.
- Sign and date your application.
- The deadline to apply in person is: 11 days before Election Day.
After you receive your ballot
- Carefully read and follow the instructions, and fill out all required fields.
- Sign and date the outside envelope.
- Mail or hand-deliver your ballot to your local election office. You can also hand-deliver your ballot to a state-provided dropbox. You can use our Find Out Where To Vote tool to find an official dropbox.
- If you mail your ballot, it must be postmarked by Election Day.
- If you hand-deliver your ballot, it must be received by Election Day.
- If you miss the deadline – or forget to sign the outside envelope – your vote will not be counted.
Virginia absentee ballot ID requirements
- ID required when requesting a mail-in ballot: You must provide the last 4 digits of your social security number on your absentee ballot application. Additionally, the signature on your absentee ballot application will be compared to the signature on your voter registration card to ensure they match.
- ID required when returning a mail-in ballot: Your signature on the return envelope will be compared to the signature on your voter registration card to ensure they match. If you forget to sign the return envelope, your ballot might be rejected. Additionally, if you did not submit valid ID when registering to vote by mail then you must include a copy of a non-expired photo ID or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck that shows name and address.
Local election office
Contact your local election office if you have questions.
Statewide election office
This is the statewide agency that is ultimately responsible for Virginia elections. You can contact them with questions, but your local election office will probably respond faster.
Virginia State Board of Elections 1100 Bank Street, 1st floor Richmond, VA 23219
- Virginia online voter registration
- Virginia online absentee ballot request
- Virginia voter status lookup
- Virginia absentee ballot tracker
- Virginia polling place locator