En Espanol | The U.S. Virgin Islands government has changed voting this year to make it easier and safer — voters can cast no-excuse absentee ballots, and in-person voting centers are taking extensive safety measures in the face of COVID-19:
- Now voters can cast an absentee ballot without needing an excuse — a change pushed by the AARP office in the Virgin Islands. Applications for absentee ballots will be accepted starting Sept. 8.
- The Islands also offer early voting, beginning on Oct. 5 and running through Oct. 28.
Here's what else you need to know:
How do I register to vote?
Registration must be done in person, by Oct. 3, at one of three Board of Elections locations. Residents must bring a birth certificate, U.S. passport, military discharge form or naturalization certificate. You must have an original version of these documents; copies won't be accepted.
How can I get an absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?
Government officials this year eliminated a requirement that people provide an excuse to vote absentee. Unregistered voters will need to register in person, but all voters can now safely cast their ballots from home.
To receive an absentee ballot, you'll need to complete an application form and submit it via email or fax to either the St. Croix or the St. Thomas/St. John absentee ballot return addresses, depending on where you live. The Election System of the Virgin Islands lists return addresses where you can submit your application.
Government officials will begin accepting absentee ballot applications on Sept. 8. They must receive the completed applications by Oct. 27 for the November general election. Once voters receive absentee ballots, they must also sign an affidavit included with the ballot materials. If a person needs assistance filling out the ballot, the assistant must also sign the affidavit. Ballots can be dropped in the mail — postage-free — by Election Day, which is Nov. 3.
How do I know my absentee ballot is secure?
Absentee ballots are only mailed to voters who request them. The ballots come with several envelopes, and the voter must sign an affidavit on one of the envelopes confirming their identity and the legitimacy of the ballot. Once the ballot is received by election officials, staff verify the voter's personal information and place the ballot in a secure ballot box. When counting votes, the Board of Elections double-checks that the voter requested an absentee ballot in the first place.
When is Election Day? When are polls open?
Tuesday, Nov. 3. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The address for each district's voting center can be found on the Virgin Islands elections website.
Can I vote before Election Day?
Yes. Early in-person early voting runs from Oct. 5 through Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Consult the Virgin Islands elections website to find your district's early-voting location.
What form of identification do I need to vote?
ID is not required, but it will speed up the process if you bring a government-issued photo ID such as a driver's license.
What is being done to make polling places safe from coronavirus?
For those who want to vote in person, safety measures like temperature checks, a mask requirement for voters and workers and social distancing will be in effect at voting centers. Booths and machines will be cleaned after each use. Each voter will be given a new pen, to keep after voting. “We will take the necessary steps to ensure each voter casts their ballot safely,” said Terrell Alexandre, acting deputy supervisor (St. Croix District), Elections System of the Virgin Islands.
Will I be able to vote in the same place as I always have?
Neighborhood voting places have been replaced by designated voting centers. The address of your district's voting center can be found on the Virgin Islands elections website.
What are the key races in my territory?
- U.S. House delegate: Incumbent Stacey Plaskett (D) vs. Shekema George (I)
- Virgin Islands unicameral legislature: All 15 seats
- As a U.S. territory, the Virgin Islands will not cast electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election. The territory's delegate in the U.S. House, who is up for reelection this year, also has limited voting privileges.
Voting rules and procedures may change before Election Day. We’ll update this story if they do, so bookmark this page and check back.
AARP is urging older Americans to ask the candidates 5 key questions:
- Just over half of all older Social Security beneficiaries rely on the program for at least 50 percent of their income. If elected, how will you ensure that current and future Social Security benefits are not cut as part of deficit reduction?
- Half of the people with traditional Medicare spend at least a sixth of their income on health care. If elected, how will you protect Medicare from benefit cuts, as well as lower health care costs and ensure seniors continue receiving the affordable health care they have earned?
- Unemployment during the coronavirus crisis reached the highest levels since the Great Depression, and older Americans have been affected disproportionately. If elected, how will you help Americans over the age of 50 recover economically from the effects of the coronavirus?
- Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. If elected, how will you cut prescription drug prices for all Americans?
- COVID-19 has caused death and suffering for too many older Americans who require long-term care. If elected, how will you make sure seniors can access safe and affordable long-term care at home, as well as in facilities like nursing homes and assisted living?
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