Voting in Virginia

Voting Eligibility

To vote in the State of Virginia you must match all of the following criteria, as required by the State Board of Elections:

You must be a resident of Virginia. (A person who has come to Virginia for temporary purposes and intends to return to another state is not considered a resident for voting purposes.)

You must be a U.S. citizen.

You must be 18 years old. (Any person who is 17 years old and will be 18 at the next general election shall be permitted to register in advance and also vote in any intervening primary or special election.)

You must not claim the right to vote in any other state.

You must not currently be declared mentally incompetent by a court of law.

If convicted of a felony, your right to vote must have been restored.

Voter Rights

To be treated with courtesy and respect by the election officials.

To be notified if your voter registration has been accepted or denied.

To vote if you have registered at your current address at least 22 days before Election Day.

To seek help from the election officials if you are unsure about anything relating to the voting process.

To be given a demonstration of how the voting equipment works.

To have your paper or optical scan ballot voided before it is cast and be given a new one if you want to change your vote.

To change your touchscreen ballot before it is cast.

To enter the full name of a write-in candidate if the candidate of your choice is not on the ballot (except in party primaries).

To have a ballot brought to your vehicle instead of entering the polling place if you are 65 years of age or older, or if you are physically disabled.

To have an officer of election or other person help you vote if you are physically disabled or unable to read or write (or need the ballot translated into another language). Blind voters may have any person assist them. Other voters may have anyone who is not their employer or union representative assist them. Note: The officer of election or other person who assists you must follow your instructions, without trying to influence your vote, and shall not tell or signal how you voted on any office or question.

To vote even if you have no identification with you at the polling place. You must sign the “Affirmation of Identity” statement before voting if you have no ID. Exception: Voters who registered by mail for the first time in Virginia on or after January 1, 2003, and who did not mail in a copy of their ID at that time, and who fail to show one of the federally required forms of ID when voting for the first time in a federal election must vote by Provisional Ballot in that election. They may not use the “Affirmation of Identity” statement at that election.

To vote a Provisional Ballot if your status as a qualified voter is in question, and to be present when the Electoral Board meets to determine if your ballot will be counted. See “Provisional Ballots” below.

To bring your minor child (age 15 or younger) into the voting booth with you to observe you vote.

To vote if you are in line by 7:00 p.m. when the polls close.

To cast an absentee ballot if you are qualified to vote absentee.

To register to vote absentee in Virginia if you are a U.S. Citizen overseas and your last residence in the U.S. was in Virginia, or you are a Virginia resident away in the military.

You cannot be denied the right to vote if you are legally qualified to do so. Government officials must not apply standards or practices which deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race, and must not deny any individual the right to vote on account of errors or omissions in registration applications which are not material to determining whether such individual is qualified to vote. Officials must not apply different standards and procedures to voters in the same circumstances in determining whether they are qualified to vote.

Voter Responsibilities

To treat the election officials with courtesy and respect.

To keep your voter registration information up-to-date with your current address. (If not, you may be eligible to vote at your prior precinct for a limited time under a legal exception. You must tell the election officials when and where you moved. Contact your voter registration office or the State Board of Elections if you have questions about your eligibility to vote.)

To show your identification (ID) at the polls. If you do not have an ID with you at the polling place, you may still vote if you sign an “Affirmation of Identity” statement, depending on your registration status. See “Provisional Ballots” below.

If party nominating primaries are being held, to tell the officials which primary you want to vote in. You may vote in either primary, but not both primaries held on the same day.

To request assistance if you do not know how to use the voting equipment or have other questions about the voting process, or need assistance preparing your ballot because of a physical disability or inability to read or write.

To follow the instructions on how to mark your ballot.

To understand that once your ballot is cast, you cannot be given another ballot.To ask the election official to call the General Registrar’s office before you leave the polling place if you have problems regarding your eligibility to vote or the casting of your ballot.

For more information, visit the Virginia State Board of Elections.