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The State Board of Elections (SBE) was created in 1946 as a bipartisan agency responsible for ensuring uniformity, fairness, accuracy and purity in all elections in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The agency promotes the proper administration of election laws, campaign finance disclosure compliance, and voter registration processes in Virginia by promulgating rules, regulations, issuing instructions, and providing information to local electoral boards and general registrars. In addition, the agency maintains a centralized database of state-wide voter registration and election related data.
For more information contact SBE Absentee Voting Coordinator Terry Wagoner
Phone: (804) 864 - 8937
Absentee voting provides a means for qualified voters to participate in upcoming elections even though they may not be able to go to the polls on election day. Absentee voting in person begins at least 45 days before most elections and ends for in-person absentee voters on the Saturday before the election.
Who May Vote Absentee?
The Code of Virginia authorizes the following registered voters to vote by absentee ballot in any election in which they are qualified to vote:
Any person who, in the regular and orderly course of his business, profession, or occupation or while on personal business or vacation, will be absent from the county or city in which he is entitled to vote;
Any person who is (i) a member of a uniformed service of the United States, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff-6(7), on active duty, or (ii) a member of the merchant marine of the United States, or (iii) who temporarily resides outside of the United States, or (iv) the spouse or dependent residing with any person listed in (i), (ii), or (iii), and who will be absent on the day of the election from the county or city in which he is entitled to vote. See Absentee Voting Procedures for Overseas Personnel (Military & Non-Military)
Any student attending a school or institution of learning, or his spouse, who will be absent on the day of election from the county or city in which he is entitled to vote;
Any person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of election because of a disability, illness or pregnancy ;
Any person who is confined while awaiting trial or for having been convicted of a misdemeanor, provided that the trial or release date is scheduled on or after the third day preceding the election. Any person who is awaiting trial and is a resident of the county or city where he is confined shall, on his request, be taken to the polls to vote on election day if his trial date is postponed and he did not have an opportunity to vote absentee;
Any person who is a member of an electoral board, registrar, officer of election, or custodian of voting equipment;
Any person serving as a designated representative of a political party, independent candidate or candidate in a political party;
Any duly registered person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of the election because he is primarily and personally responsible for the care of an ill or disabled family member who is confined at home; or
Any duly registered person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of the election because of an obligation occasioned by his religion.
Any person who, in the regular and orderly course of his business, profession, or occupation, will be at his place of work and commuting to and from his home to his place of work for eleven or more hours of the thirteen that the polls are open (6:00 AM to 7:00 PM).
Certain first responders who meet code definitions for law-enforcement officers, firefighters, search and rescue personnel and emergency medical services personnel.
Any registered and qualified voter may request a mail ballot for presidential and vice-presidential electors only by writing across the top of their absentee application "request ballot for presidential electors only." A voter who votes a "presidential only" ballot may not later decide to vote the rest of the ballot. The same procedures and deadlines apply as for other absentee applications and ballots. Please note: When completing your absentee ballot application, reason 7A should only be used by voters who have moved to another state (away from Virginia) less than 30 days before the presidential election. This reason code should not be selected by voters that do not intend to move to another state less than 30 days prior to the November 6, 2012 Presidential Election.
New registrants who submitted their voter registration applications by mail must vote in person (either in-person absentee or at the polls on election day) unless the voter is a full time college student, absent active duty military, residing overseas, physically handicapped, age 65 or over (however, they must also list a qualifying reason for voting absentee, as age itself does not qualify a voter for an absentee ballot), or voting a "presidential only" ballot.
How Do I Apply for a mailed Absentee Ballot?
Eligible Virginia registered voters generally can download an application here or contact your local Voter Registration Office to request an absentee ballot application. You can return the completed application to your local voter registration office by either mail or fax. The absentee ballot application must be received in your local voter registration office by 5:00 PM eastern standard time on the Tuesday prior to the election day in which the applicant wants to vote.
Overseas Personnel (Military & Non-Military) See Absentee Voting Procedures for Overseas Personnel (Military & Non-Military)
If you are an absent active duty military voter (or spouse/dependent) or overseas voter you should download the Federal Post Card Application instead of the Virginia application. After downloading the application form: 1) print the form, 2) read the instructions accompanying the form, 3) fill out the requested information on the form carefully, 4) sign the form and, 5) mail or fax the completed application to your local general registrar's office by 5:00 PM eastern standard time on the Tuesday prior to the election in which the applicant wants to vote.
Completing an absentee ballot application
Virginia law prescribes that Applications for absentee ballots shall be completed in one of the following manners:
An application completed in person shall be made not less than three days prior to the election in which the applicant offers to vote and completed only in the office of the local general registrar. The applicant shall sign the application in the presence of a registrar or the secretary of the electoral board.
By mail, electronic or telephonic transmission to a facsimile device
Applications can be made by mail, electronic or by fax,if one is available to the office of the local general registrar. If a facsimile device is not available locally contact us. The application shall be sent to the appropriate local general registrar.The signed and completed application must be received by the general registrar located in the city or county that you are registered to vote by 5:00 PM eastern standard time on the Tuesday prior to the election in which the applicant offers to vote.
How often must you complete an absentee ballot application?
You must complete a separate absentee ballot application for each election in which you intend to vote absentee.
Exception: You may file a single Federal Post Card Application that continues for later of the next November general or next federal general election, if you are:
(i) a member of a uniformed service of the United States, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff-6(7), on active duty, or
(ii) a member of the merchant marine of the United States, or
(iii) temporarily residing outside of the United States (but eligible for permanent registration in Virginia -- that is, your Virginia place of abode is still available to you whenever you return toVirginia), or
(iv) the spouse or dependent residing with any person listed in (i), (ii), or (iii) above.
Your Federal Post Card Application will serve as your absentee ballot application for all elections that you are eligible to vote in through either the next November general or federal general election, whichever is later. This means that you will receiveabsentee ballots automatically during the time your FPCA continues unless you specify a shorter ending date or submit a new FPCA. It also means you are responsiblefor informing your local registrar of all and any address changes by a signed writing.The FVAP recommends that eligible UOCAVA voters update their FPCA annually.
Casting an In-Person Absentee Ballot:
Call your local voter registration office for location or locations of In Person Absentee voting sites.
An absentee application must be completed before casting a ballot.
Acceptable voter identification must be provided.
If all of the above is completed, you will then be allowed to cast an absentee ballot.