With absentee voting set to start Friday in Virginia, the state’s elections department launched an awareness campaign called “Free to be Absentee,” meant to help voters understand the process of casting a ballot early.
“We are excited about our new campaign and committed to ensuring that all eligible Virginia voters are able to make their voices heard,” said Christopher Piper, commissioner of the elections department.
The department’s campaign includes a website with individual tabs that voters can click on, showing them exactly what they need to do to register to vote, request an absentee ballot or track their ballot.
There will also be a series of digital ads and social media content highlighting the early voting process.
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“We want voters to know about all of the options they have to cast their ballots for the upcoming election,” Piper said.
It will be weeks before early voting starts in D.C. and Maryland, but Virginia is one of a handful of states that begin voting 45 days before the election.
As opposed to previous years, and due to changes approved by the General Assembly, Virginia voters can request an absentee ballot without having to provide an excuse as to why they cannot make it to the polls on Election Day.
The last day to vote absentee in-person is Saturday, Oct. 31.
For voters who do not want to cast their ballot in-person, they can request that a ballot be mailed to them. Those ballots will start being mailed out Friday.
Once the ballot arrives, voters will need to fill it out and return it.
For ballots being returned in the mail, they must be postmarked by Election Day. Voters can also return their absentee ballots at secure drop-off locations, including their local registrar’s office, satellite voting locations and at polling places on Election Day.