AARP AARP States Virginia Voters

How to Vote in Virginia's 2023 Elections

En español | There are multiple ways to cast your ballot in Virginia, including absentee by mail. The state also allows same-day registration through Election Day.

The general election on Tuesday, Nov. 7, will decide races for seats in the state legislature. A primary will be held on Tuesday, June 20, in several districts.

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 Essential info: 

    • Absentee voting: All registered voters can vote absentee by mail. But you’ll need to apply to do so — and you’ll need a witness signature on your absentee ballot. 
    • Early in-person voting: Cast your ballot early and in person starting Friday, May 5, for the primary and Friday, Sept. 22, for the general election.
    • Voting at the polls: You’ll need to show identification, such as a Virginia driver’s license, or sign an ID confirmation statement to vote at the polls. 

    Have there been any recent changes to voting in Virginia?

    Virginia is offering same-day registration under a law that took effect during the 2022 midterms.

    And a 2021 redistricting plan changed certain boundaries of the state’s U.S. congressional and legislative districts.

    How do I register to vote? 

    Register online, by mail or in person:

    The registration deadline is Tuesday, May 30, for the primary and Monday, Oct. 16, for the general election.
    Once the regular registration deadline has passed, you still can sign up at an early voting site, at your registrar’s office or at your polling place. Bring a valid form of ID, such as a Virginia driver’s license or U.S. passport. Same-day registration is only offered in person.

    How can I get an absentee-by-mail ballot?  

    Any registered voter can apply for an absentee-by-mail ballot without a reason.

    Your application must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 9, for the primary and by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, for the general election.

    You may apply for an emergency absentee ballot if hospitalization, illness or the death of a parent, child or spouse caused you to miss the absentee application deadline or keeps you from voting at the polls. Go to the elections department website for more information.

    How do I return my absentee ballot?

    Make sure your completed ballot includes a witness signature. Return your absentee ballot by mail or in person: 

    • By mail: Mail your preaddressed ballot to your local board of elections. Prepaid postage is provided. Your ballot must be postmarked by Election Day and received no later than three days after an election.
    • In person: Hand-deliver your ballot to your local registrar’s office or any polling place within your county or city before 7 p.m. on Election Day, which is Tuesday, June 20, for the primary and Tuesday, Nov. 7, for the general election. Other ballot drop-off locations may be available in your county or city. Check with your registrar for details.

    Track your ballot by entering your information into Ballot Scout or, if you live in Fairfax County, BallotTrax

    Can I vote in person before Election Day? 

    Vote early at your local registrar's office or at a nearby satellite polling location. Early voting runs from Friday, May 5, through Saturday, June 17, for the primary and from Friday, Sept. 22, through Saturday, Nov. 4, for the general election.

    What do I need to know about voting at the polls on Election Day?

    Polling information is available on the elections department website. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can cast a ballot after 7 p.m. if you were in line before the polls closed.

    Do I need identification to vote? 

    You’ll either need an acceptable form of identification — like a Virginia driver’s license or work, military or student ID — or you’ll need to sign an ID confirmation statement. If you don’t sign the statement, you’ll receive a provisional ballot and will have until the Friday after an election to fax, email, mail or deliver an acceptable form of ID to election officials for your vote to count. 

    Editor’s note: This guide, first published on July 15, 2020, was updated on May 5, 2023, with more information about voting in Virginia’s upcoming elections.

    Also of Interest:

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