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Virginia vote by mail guide

Virginia vote by mail deadlines

  • Earliest day to apply: November 3, 2019
  • Request your mail-in ballot (online): Received by October 23, 2020
  • Request your mail-in ballot (by mail): Received by October 23, 2020
  • Request your mail-in ballot (in person): Received by October 23, 2020
  • Return your mail-in ballot (by mail): Postmarked by November 3, 2020
  • Return your mail-in ballot (in person): Received by November 3, 2020

Virginia vote by mail rules

  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all counties will have absentee ballot drop off boxes.

  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all postage for vote by mail ballots will be paid for by the Office of the Secretary.

  • Almost all registered Virginia voters can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

  • If you registered to vote by mailing in your voter registration application AND it is your first time voting in your district --- you cannot vote by mail unless you meet one of the following conditions:

    • 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 vote by mail ID requirements

  • Virginia voters must include the last 4 digits of their social security number to request a ballot. If you request a ballot IN PERSON, you must show ID.
  • Acceptable ID include: a voter confirmation documents; a Virginia driver's license; a Virginia state ID; a government issued photo ID; a US passport; a student photo ID issued by a US college or university; a valid employee photo ID; a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document containing your name and address. If you do not have the above, you may sign an affidavit.
  • You do not need ID when you return a voted ballot.

Virginia vote by mail directions

In almost all cases, you will need to sign up to vote by mail. The state won’t just mail you a ballot. Don't worry: we will walk you through it. There are only a handful of steps:

  1. You submit an application to vote by mail
  2. Your local election office processes your application
  3. Your local election office sends your ballot to you
  4. You vote using the ballot and return it by the deadline

Apply to vote by mail online (recommended)

  1. Visit the Virginia vote by mail website.
  2. Fill out all of the required information.
  3. Hit save or submit when you are done.
  4. The deadline to apply online is: received by October 23, 2020.

Apply to vote by mail

  1. Download the Virginia vote by mail application.
  2. Fill out all of the required fields.
  3. Print the form.
  4. Sign and date your form. This is very important.
  5. Mail or hand-deliver your completed form directly to your local election office as soon as possible, but no later than the deadline.
  6. If it’s close to the deadline, call your Local Election Office and see if they will let you submit your form via email or fax.
  7. The deadline to apply by mail is: received by October 23, 2020

Apply to vote by mail in person

  1. Visit your Local Election Office.
  2. Ask the clerk to give you an absentee ballot application.
  3. Fill out all of the required fields.
  4. Sign and date your application.
  5. The deadline to apply in person is: received by October 23, 2020

How to vote by mail

  1. Carefully read and follow the instructions.
  2. Fill out all of the required fields.
  3. Sign and date the outside envelope.
  4. Mail or hand-deliver your ballot to your Local Election Office.
  5. Your ballot must be received by the deadline or it will not be counted.

Two important things to note:

  1. The Local Election Office will compare your signature on your voted ballot to the one on your driver’s license and on your voter registration form to make sure they match. So please sign carefully.
  2. The post office will deliver your ballot even if you don’t have a stamp as long as you use the return envelope provided by your state. This envelope will say “official election mail.” The USPS will always deliver official election mail -- no stamp needed.

Questions? Need help?

Contact your local elections office if you have any questions about voting by mail in Virginia.

Statewide election office

Virginia State Board of Elections
1100 Bank Street, 1st floor
Richmond, VA 23219