Virginia elections commissioner: Same-day voter registration in effect, but don’t wait until the last minute

Virginia’s elections chief on Wednesday reminded voters that they have more time to register to vote in November’s election, though the process will be a little different if they wait.

Virginia’s voter registration deadline is Oct. 17. Voters can register anytime after that, under a same-day registration law that goes into effect this year, but those who register after Oct. 17 will need to use a provisional ballot.

“The provisional ballot does not go into the voting machine at that time, and it won’t be processed until after the election,” Virginia Elections Commissioner Susan Beals told WTOP.

Beals said the process gives election officials additional time to verify the paperwork of voters who register at a later date.

“Because our local precincts on Election Day are not connected to the internet, they’re not able to look you up and see if you’re already registered or if you’ve already voted,” Beals said. “They are going to go back to the registrar’s office and do that research there.”

Despite the new law, Beals said she hopes people do not wait until the last second.

“We want you to be registered before Oct. 17, because that is your best chance of voting with a regular ballot,” Beals said. “Please go ahead and register before Oct. 17 if at all possible.”

In-person early voting for the November elections starts Friday in Virginia.

Beals added that elections officials will start putting absentee ballots into the mail Friday. “You can apply at any time for an absentee ballot and there is also a permanent absentee list that you can apply to be on if you would like to receive absentee ballots for each election.”

Same-day voter registration was already the law in D.C. and Maryland. In-person early voting in Maryland starts Oct. 27; in D.C., it begins Oct. 31.

All 11 of Virginia’s U.S. House seats will be on ballots across the state.

Maryland voters will decide all 188 seats in the state legislature along with governor, a U.S. Senate seat and all eight U.S. House seats.

In the District, voters will make their selections for mayor and several D.C. Council seats.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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