Monday is last chance to register to vote in Va. governor’s race

WASHINGTON — Virginians have until Monday to register to vote or update their voter registration for the hotly contested Nov. 7 races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and House of Delegates.

Voters can register, update information or check their registration status online. Mail-in or in-person applications must be completed by 5 p.m. Monday, but online registration can be submitted through 11:59 p.m.

“It is incredibly important if you have moved since November of last year, get your registration updated,” Fairfax County General Registrar Cameron Sasnett said.

New residents who have moved to the state must register too, but may have done that when they obtained their new driver’s license through the Department of Motor Vehicles. Sasnett encouraged voters who have moved recently to check their registration status online this weekend.

Leading the top of the ticket are Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, and Libertarian Cliff Hyra, an attorney. Former prosecutor Justin Fairfax, a Democrat, and State Sen. Jill Vogel, a Republican, are running for lieutenant governor. And Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, faces challenger Republican John Adams, an attorney.

Campaigning is ramping up, with Gillespie due to hold a rally with Vice President Mike Pence Saturday evening in Abingdon. Northam plans to hold a rally in Richmond Thursday with former President Barack Obama. Northam campaigned last weekend with former Vice President Joe Biden.

Absentee voting

Fairfax County is preparing for about 50 percent turnout, similar to other recent governor’s races. Statewide turnout four years ago was 43 percent, compared to 71 percent turnout for the presidential election a year earlier.

Seventy-two percent of registered Virginia voters cast ballots in last year’s presidential election.

“We like to say that this is the largest party that nobody ever RSVPs for,” Sasnett said.

Fairfax County, Virginia’s most populous jurisdiction, has 243 polling places.

The county has already had more than 5,331 absentee ballots cast. Ten in-person absentee locations for county voters are open six-days-a-week starting Monday. Voters can find out how long the wait is by checking online first. Among those, the Fairfax County Government Center has been open since Sept. 22.

Other Northern Virginia jurisdictions also have in-person absentee voting at specific locations designated by the city or county.

The final day for in-person absentee voting is Sat., Nov. 4.

Voters need an official reason to vote absentee such as school, work, vacation, illness, pregnancy, being in jail awaiting trial, or a commute and workday that totals 11 hours or more of the polling day.

All in-person voters must bring a photo identification like a driver’s license or Virginia school identification card to vote.

Schools closed Election Day

All Virginia public schools in the WTOP listening area will be closed for students on Election Day except for Rappahannock and Madison counties.

“Nov. 7 is a school holiday, so it’ll be a lot easier for folks to get in and out of the parking lots at especially the elementary and middle schools,” Sasnett said of the morning and afternoon voting rush.

Polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 7.

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