Early voting underway in Virginia

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 3:29 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - As a global pandemic intersects with a presidential election, Virginia voters have several options to make sure their voices are heard safely.

Starting Friday, anyone can vote in person at their registrar’s office. No prior approval is required.

Early in-person voting runs through October 31.

Click here for statewide election information.

In Roanoke, the registrar’s office is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In-person voting will also be offered two Saturdays: October 24 and 31.

“Now we have true early voting, which is accessible to every single registered voter in the Commonwealth. So you’ll just show up at the office and it’ll be pretty much like election day. You will have to show ID, you’ll get your ballot, you’ll mark your ballot, scan it, and leave," said Roanoke City Registrar Andrew Cochran.

Friday, mail-in absentee ballots will also begin going out for anyone who has requested one.

Like with early in-person voting, you no longer need to give a reason to vote absentee; you just have to request a ballot by October 23.

Those need to be postmarked by election day, November 3.

“We are using a new tracking tool this time, so you’ll see a variety of barcodes on the envelopes in your ballot package. That’ll allow the voter to go online and check and see where their ballot is in the US Postal system," said Cochran.

He expects more voters to opt for these less traditional methods this year, for either convenience or safety reasons.

“We are anticipating a lower turnout on election day itself; I think the overall turnout may actually be higher because we’ve had so many people interested in both vote by mail and early in-person voting," said Cochran.

If you still need to register to vote, you have until October 13.

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