Absentee voting is on the rise

Published 4:52 pm Wednesday, September 2, 2020

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This Nov. 3, with states still dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, a record numbers of Americans are expected to vote by mail or vote in person early to avoid the lines at their local voting precincts

Gov. Ralph Northam introduced legislation earlier this year with the goal to increase voter turnout and decrease congestion at the polls on Election Day.

With No Excuse, Early Voting in place this election year, Lunenburg County Registrar Carolyn Parson said the office has seen an increase in absentee voting.

Voters can vote absentee as early as 45 days before the election, and even though this as always been the case, there is a change.

Voting absentee 45 days before has always been the case. However, it’s in the forefront this year because in actuality it is No Excuse Early Voting (rather than Absentee Voting) because voters are not required to provide a reason. The difference being voters may vote in-person during this 45-day period without completing an application.

Early voting in Virginia starts Sept. 18 and runs through Oct. 31.

This new law allows voters to vote in person without having to complete forms and should negate long lines on Election Day.

Parson added that even though voters do not have to complete an application to vote early, a form of identification is needed.

“A form of identification can be a driver’s license, voter registration document or something with the 911 address on it,” Parson said.

On election day at the polls and at any time voters may enter the registrar’s office to vote early, although the law does not permit the registrar’s office to require voters to wear masks,  they do suggest them.

“Mask are requested to be worn, but it will be up to voter to do so,” Parson said. “We also have signs in place saying to protect yourself and others masks are suggested.”

Parson said that all Lunenburg County voting precincts would follow all health guidelines.  “Officers of Election will be using all PPE’s, have folders for ballots, social distancing will be followed, and hand sanitizers will be available,” she said,

Parson also said the number of voters who will be allowed in a precinct will also depend on the building’s size as six feet of social distancing will be followed.

Voters can take advantage of the 45 days of No Excuse Early Voting in Lunenburg County for In-Person Early Voting beginning Sept. 18 office hours are Monday through Friday are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well as the following Saturdays, Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.