On July 1, new laws make voting in Virginia more accessible and equitable. Here’s a brief run-down of the changes:

  1. Election Day in November is a state holiday (replacing Lee-Jackson Day)
  2. Absentee voting
    • You no longer need an excuse to vote absentee by mail or in person
    • Your absentee ballot will be counted if it is postmarked on or before Election Day and arrives at the registrar’s office by noon on the third day after the election (previously had to arrive by 7pm on Election Day)
    • You must apply for your absentee ballot no later than 11 days before the election (previously 7 days)
  3. Voter ID
    • You can now use documents without your photo — e.g., voter registration card and documents such as utility bills containing your name and address (an employer ID must still include your photo)
    • Students registered to vote in Virginia and attending a college outside of Virginia may use their student IDs (previously applied only to students at Virginia colleges)
  4. Voter registration
    • Automatic voter registration at DMV locations and on the DMV website is now easier
    • Public high schools must provide voting age students with access to voter registration information and applications, including access to Virginia’s online portal using school-owned computers, during school hours
    • The VA Department of Elections must provide voter registration forms to public and non-profit private institutions of higher learning in the Commonwealth