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What are the rules for keeping voter registration lists current? There are several laws regarding voter registration lists that we strictly follow. The Virginia Department of Elections provides additional information on how Virginia maintains voter lists in accordance with laws and standards.
If someone doesn’t vote in elections for many years, will they be made inactive or removed from the voter list? No. There is no requirement for a registered voter to vote.
What is an “inactive voter?” This is a voter who we suspect has moved because their election mail has been returned as “undeliverable” or “return to sender” and they haven’t responded to a letter asking them to confirm their address. Alternatively, the voter may have appeared in the National Change of Address or other database provided to the Virginia Department of Elections that indicates that they have moved.
If an inactive voter does not vote for two federal general elections, they will be removed from the voter list.
Can an “inactive” voter become active again? Yes. They either complete an Affirmation of Eligibility statement at the polling place when they go to vote, declaring they are a qualified and registered voter, or they submit a new voter registration application.
How does address confirmation mailing work? Address confirmation mailings include a postage prepaid envelope and a form for voters to use to confirm whether their address did or did not change, or to request that the general registrar cancel their registration, as appropriate.
What happens after a voter becomes “inactive” as a result of the confirmation process? Following each federal general election, the Virginia Department of Elections cancels individuals who have been on the inactive list without voting in two federal general elections.
Voters who have been designated as “inactive” through the confirmation process may still cast a ballot on Election Day, under certain conditions. These voters are required to complete an Affirmation of Eligibility statement declaring they are a qualified and registered voter of the polling place at which they are present. They will be checked in to the pollbook by election officers and permitted to vote. Their status in the statewide database will be changed automatically to “active.”
Are there any other methods used by the Virginia Department of Elections in the confirmation and cancellation process for the voter lists? In addition to the processes outlined above, when the Virginia Department of Elections receives information from federal or state agencies regarding a voter’s qualifications to vote as registered have changed, the local general registrar is notified through the statewide database to take action.
What do I do with election mail I receive that is addressed to someone who does not live at my address? Write on the front of the envelope “Return to Sender – Not at this address” and give to the mail carrier to return to us.
By returning mail to us, you are providing official confirmation that the address for a voter is incorrect or no longer valid and enabling us to take action.
Only when we receive mail marked “undeliverable” or “return to sender,” are we able to flag the voter in the statewide database to receive an address confirmation mailing from the Department of Elections. We may only update a voter’s address or immediately remove someone from the voter list after we receive a signed statement or official form from the voter stating they have moved.
Note that overseas and military voters must use the address of their last residence as their voter registration address, regardless of the number of years they have lived overseas. It is possible that you could receive election mail for someone who no longer lives at your address but who is still a qualified voter.
What does James City County Office of Elections do with undeliverable mail? When election mail is returned to our office as “undeliverable” or “return to sender” by the Post Office, our voter registration staff make an entry in the voter’s record on the statewide voter database that flags the voter for inclusion in the next address confirmation mailing. Additionally, the front of the envelope is scanned and uploaded to the voter’s record in the statewide voter database.
What does an individual voter need to do to be removed from the list of registered voters? Individual voters must submit a signed request to have their voter registration canceled. When a completed official Request to Cancel Voter Registration form is received in our office, the voter’s registration is canceled. We send a cancellation confirmation letter to the voter’s residence address.
What happens if a registered voter responds “No” to the citizenship question when completing a form for the DMV? § 24.2-410.1 requires the DMV to ask all customers to identify their citizenship status. On a regular basis, the DMV shares the list of individuals who responded “No” to the citizenship question with the Virginia Department of Elections. The list is compared to the list of existing registered voters, and any potential matches are provided to the appropriate local general registrar for further review and processing.
Through the statewide voter database, Virginia Department of Elections provides us with a list of individuals who responded “No” to the DMV citizenship question. Based on state law, we send these individuals a Notice of Intent to Cancel letter along with an Affirmation of Citizenship form. If an individual does not return a signed Affirmation of Citizenship form within 14 days, the statewide database automatically removes them from the list of registered voters. If the individual is a citizen entitled to vote in James City County and they did not return the Affirmation of Citizenship form during the required time period, they may complete a new voter registration application in the future.
How are deceased individuals removed from the list of registered voters? Pursuant to § 24.2-404.3 and 24.2-408, the Virginia Department of Elections is required to ensure that voters who have died are removed from the voter registration list in a timely manner. § 24.2-404.3 requires the Virginia Department of Elections to conduct a match of the voter registration list against the list of deceased persons maintained by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA distributes its death records through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service (NTIS). §24.2-408 requires the Bureau of Vital Statistics (BVS) at the Virginia Department of Health to provide the Virginia Department of Elections a monthly list of those who have died in the previous month. Currently, the BVS uploads a monthly file to the Virginia Department of Elections containing these records.
The data from NTIS and BVS is loaded into the Virginia voter registration system regularly. The records are matched automatically against existing registered voters. Any potential matches are provided to the responsible local general registrar for further review and processing.
Each month, the Virginia Department of Elections uses VERIS to provide James City County and other localities in the Commonwealth of Virginia the names of deceased individuals on their voter lists for local general registrars to remove from the list of registered voters.
Additionally, the local general registrar’s office may cancel a voter when a death certificate is presented, or a Report of Death of Registered Voter form has been submitted. The statewide database generates a cancellation letter expressing condolences to “The Family of” the deceased former voter for the local general registrar’s office to print and mail.
How are mentally incapacitated voters removed from the list of registered voters? Pursuant to § 24.2-410, the Clerks of the Circuit Courts send Virginia Department of Elections a paper based monthly report indicating any individuals who were adjudicated mentally incapacitated. Each month, we receive this information from the Circuit Court then we take the appropriate action to remove individuals from the list of registered voters.
How do the political parties, organizations, and candidates get my name and know that I am a voter? Virginia law allows certain groups and individuals, including political parties, candidates, certain non-profit organizations, and incumbent officeholders, to obtain voter lists and lists of people who voted in a given election for use with political activity from the Department of Elections.
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Who can register to vote in Virginia? You may register to vote if you meet the following criteria:
Where can I find information on registering to vote? Your best source for information about registering to vote is the Virginia Department of Elections website.
Do we register by party in Virginia? No. Virginia does not have party registration. While a voter may vote in either primary, no voter can vote in both.
I registered to vote before my 18th birthday. Am I eligible to vote in the November election? If you turn 18 on or before the date of the general election in November (first Tuesday after the first Monday in November), you may vote in the general election and also in a primary election for federal offices held prior to that election.
I Have been convicted of a felony. Can I vote? Only if you have had your rights restored.
Any person convicted of a felony loses their right to vote in Virginia and that right can only be restored by the Governor of Virginia. You can find out more information, check the current status of your civil rights, and apply to have your rights restored through the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website.
The Secretary of the Commonwealth Restoration Department can be contacted directly at 804-692-0104.
Once your rights have been restored you must register to vote before you can qualify to receive a ballot at the next election.
I lost my voter registration notice. Or: I submitted a voter registration application but did not receive a voter notification card. What can I do? You may call, email, or visit our office and request a duplicate be mailed.
Please note that Virginia law prohibits us from mailing voter registration cards to voters at any address other than their residence. We cannot print or provide voter registration cards to voters in person or electronically; these must be mailed out via USPS First Class Mail, so please allow adequate time for delivery.
How do I check my voter registration record or update my address or name? The easiest way is online through the Virginia Department of Elections Citizen Portal. Alternatively, you may complete a paper application. For more information on voter registration, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website. If you need a paper application mailed to you call 757-259-4949.
My daughter/son is away at college. Can I register them to vote? No! A voter must complete their own application. It is a felony to impersonate someone else on an election document. They may register to vote in the locality where they are living while attending school or in James City County using their family’s residence address.
I am moving out of James City County to another locality in Virginia. How do I change my voter registration address? You may update your registration information online through the Virginia Citizen Portal. Alternatively, you may complete a paper copy of a voter registration application to register to vote when you arrive in your new locality. This will automatically cancel your registration in James City County.
I am moving out of state. How do I cancel my voter registration? Download the “Request to Cancel Voter Registration” form to complete and mail or email our office.
I heard Virginia now offers “same day voter registration.” To vote by placing your ballot in the voting machine yourself or to vote an absentee ballot by mail, you must register before the deadline (“close of books”), which is 22 days before Election Day.
After that date, Virginia offers same day registration (SDR) at voting locations as an option for residents who were unable to register before the deadline. At the time they register, these voters must vote a provisional ballot for consideration after Election Day by the James City County Electoral Board, which means their votes are not included in the election night results.
How does same day registration (SDR) work? After the standard deadline to register to vote (22 days before an election day), Virginia citizens may complete a voter registration form at the JCC Vote Center or on Election Day at the polling place for the precinct in which they reside and cast a provisional ballot. Virginia law requires a voter on Election Day to cast their provisional ballot at their polling place.
After completing a voter registration form, same day registration (SDR) voters mark a ballot, seal it in a provisional ballot envelope, then complete the required information on the outside of the envelope.
Provisional ballot envelopes are reviewed in the days following the election, and the Electoral Board determines which are to be counted. For the SDR ballot to be considered, both the voter registration form and the provisional ballot envelope must be completed fully and correctly.
Important: To place your ballot in the voting machine yourself or to vote absentee, you must register to vote prior to the standard deadline, 22 days before an election day.
To save time, may I register online after the standard deadline then go to a precinct polling location and vote a provisional ballot? No. All online (and mailed) registration applications submitted after the standard deadline are not processed until after Election Day. To register after the standard deadline, you must do so at a polling place and immediately vote a provisional ballot.
After the standard registration deadline date, Virginia offers same day registration (SDR) at polling places as an option for residents who were unable to register before the deadline. At the time they register, these voters must vote a provisional ballot for consideration after Election Day by the James City County Electoral Board, which means their votes are not included in the election night results.
I registered to vote before my 18th birthday. Am I eligible to vote in the November election? If you turn 18 on or before the date of the general election in November (the first Tuesday in November), you may vote in the general election, and you may vote in a primary election for federal offices held that year before that election.
Do I need a photo ID to vote? No, you do not need a photo ID to vote in-person, but you do need an ID to check in. See what IDs are acceptable.
What if I don’t have an ID with me? If you don’t have an acceptable ID, you may complete an ID Confirmation Statement, which serves as an acceptable ID and will allow you to check in and vote. Alternatively, you may vote a provisional ballot and provide a copy of your ID to the Office of Elections before noon on the Friday after the election.
However, first time voters in a federal election who register by mail are required by federal law to present an ID, § 24.2-701.1
What is a provisional ballot? A provisional ballot is a ballot used to record the vote of an individual whose eligibility to vote cannot be confirmed at the polling place on election day by election officers or the general registrar.
If the election officers and general registrar cannot find your name in the pollbook or there is a question regarding your eligibility to vote (such as you received an absentee ballot) then a provisional ballot will be utilized. A provisional ballot is designed to protect your right to vote by allowing you to submit a ballot that will be counted if the underlying question of your eligibility can be resolved.
Additionally, if you go to your polling place and do not have proper ID, you will be given the option to complete an ID Confirmation Statement form or to vote a provisional ballot. You will receive a notice of steps to follow to provide your ID by the required deadline to ensure your vote will be counted.
How do I find out where I vote on Election Day? On the Department of Elections Citizen Portal, “Find your polling place.” On Election Day, you MUST vote at the polling place where you are assigned to vote.
I moved. Do I vote on Election Day at the polling place where I used to live or where I live now? You need to go to the polling place where you are assigned to vote. Look up your voter information on the Virginia Department of Elections Citizen Portal.
Can I vote in-person after I received an absentee mailed ballot? May I vote early or on Election Day? If you change your mind and want to vote in-person after you have been mailed an absentee ballot, it is permitted. However, the process will take additional time.
During Early Voting - Voters who change their mind about absentee voting by mail have two options, only available at the JCC Vote Center during the early voting period which is 45 days prior to Election Day.
On Election Day - If you have your mailed absentee ballot,
If you do not have your ballot, you will need to complete additional paperwork then you will be offered a provisional ballot. This ensures that there is only one ballot per voter is counted. Provisional ballots are then reviewed and counted at the Election Canvass by the Electoral Board after noon on the Friday following the election (except when Veteran’s Day is on Friday then the Electoral Board Canvass is after noon on Monday).
What is a primary? A primary election is the method by which the party determines who will represent them on the ballot in the November General Election. While a voter may vote in either primary, no voter can vote in both.
Who can vote in a primary? All registered voters are eligible to vote in either primary, but not both.
Can I vote in both primaries? Who may Vote in a Primary states that “No person shall vote for the candidates of more than one party.” While a voter may vote in either primary, no voter can vote in both.
Why am I asked at the polling place “In which party primary would you like to vote?” The two primaries are actually two separate elections. State law requires separate ballots for each party’s primary. The question must be asked and answered so that the voter will receive the ballot requested. Your choice of primary does not mean that you will be “registered” with that party or that you are required to vote for that party in November.
What accommodations do you have for disabled voters? All polling places (early voting in-person and Election Day) offer:
If you require assistance at the polling place, someone may help you with your ballot after you both complete and sign the Request for Assistance form, available at the polling place. If you do not have an assistant with you, you may ask an election officer to serve as your assistant.
Marking a ballot is difficult for me. May I bring someone with me to help? Or to translate? Yes. They will be required to complete a Request for Assistance form before they may assist you.
Do I need to vote for every contest on the ballot? Or may I leave some blank? You are not required to vote for someone in every contest or mark every issue on the ballot. Your ballot will be accepted, and only the votes you marked will be counted.
If I make a mistake on my ballot, what do I do? Completely fill in all of the candidate/referendum black oval(s) on the ballot, mark the ballot “Spoiled” across your ballot and take it to the Chief Election Officer to exchange for a new ballot.
I was turned away at the polling place and was not offered a provisional ballot. What can I do? If you were turned away because you were at the wrong polling place, then you will need to vote at the polling place that is associated with the voter registration address. You can look up the polling place address using Polling Place Lookup.
If you were turned away for any other reason, return to your polling place and ask to vote with a provisional ballot.
How do I file a complaint? If you have a complaint related to your registration or voting experience, the law provides several options for you to take action.
Be sure to provide as much information as you can in the complaint. The complaint will be sent to the Department of Elections and to your general registrar.
May I bring my children into the voting booth with me? Yes, if they are aged 15 or younger. Older children are allowed in the voting room but must sign a Request for Assistance form to accompany a voter into the voting booth or provide assistance.
May I take a selfie of myself voting? And a picture of my voted ballot? Yes, but you may not include any other voter in the photograph without their permission.
Must I be inside the polling place on Election Day before 7 p.m. to be allowed to vote? Not necessarily. Anyone in line at 7 p.m., in front of the designed election officer at the end of the line, is permitted to vote.
Where can I see election results and turnout figures for past elections? You may find these figures at Virginia Department of Elections.
How many polling places are there in James City County? James City County has 18 polling places. You may see registration statistics on the Virginia Department of Elections website.
Where can I vote early in-person? Unlike Election Day voting, anyone may vote at the JCC Vote Center.
Do I need a reason to vote early in-person? No. Any registered voter may vote early in-person.
Do I need to fill out an absentee application if I plan to vote early in-person? No, an absentee ballot application is not used for early voting in-person.
However, to vote in-person, you will need to provide your full legal name, current residence address and present an acceptable ID, just as you would at your polling place on Election Day. If you don’t have an acceptable ID, you may complete an ID Confirmation Statement, which serves as an acceptable ID and will allow you to check in and vote. Alternatively, you may vote a provisional ballot and provide a copy of your ID to the Office of Elections before noon on the Friday after the election. (except when Veteran’s Day is on Friday then the Electoral Board Canvass is after noon on Monday).
If I vote early in-person at the Vote Center, when is my ballot counted? Your ballot is counted when you feed it into the voting machine. However, the votes on the voting machines are not disclosed and reported until after 7 p.m. on election night.