The Prince William County Electoral Board voted 3-0 on Tuesday during an emergency meeting to continue to offer in-person absentee voting for five Saturdays starting this Saturday, Sept. 20, said Keith Scarborough, the board’s secretary.
Localities are only required to provide in-person absentee voting for the two Saturdays before an election, Scarborough said. The county advertised in July the schedule for in-person absentee voting, which included 8:30 a.m. to noon hours for Sept. 21 and 28 and Oct. 5, 12 and 19.
Due to the cost of providing the half-day Saturday voting, Michele White, the county’s elections director and general registrar, proposed eliminating the first five Saturdays in the in-person absentee voting schedule, Scarborough said.
Due to many county residents who commute outside the county for work, Scarborough and the other electoral board members were concerned about removing those first five Saturdays from the schedule, Scarborough said, adding about 20 people spoke at the emergency meeting, mostly in support of not changing the schedule.
“This election has the most direct impact on local citizens so we want to make sure people have as many opportunities as possible to vote in this election,” Scarborough said.
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Scarborough said the electoral board is sympathetic to budget concerns, but said there are other things the office can do to balance their budget, Scarborough said, adding the office may not be able to provide the same schedule for future elections.
State leaders changed the law earlier this year to provide early voting without a required excuse for one week prior to presidential elections starting with the November 2020 presidential election, Scarborough said.
In-person absentee voting begins Friday, Sept. 20 and registered voters must qualify for one of 20 reasons to vote in-person absentee, such as being a first responder, being pregnant, and other reasons, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.
Click here to learn more reasons why registered voters can vote in-person absentee.