Absentee Voting Myths

Check out the Department of Elections Mythbusters page: Virginia Dept of Elections - Voter Education: Mythbusters 

Absentee Voting Myths


1. Absentee ballots are not counted unless it is a close election?  

False - Absentee Ballots are tabulated in the Central Absentee Precinct on Election Day

2. I have to mail back my absentee ballot through the U.S. Postal Service?

False - Absentee Ballots may be returned via USPS or delivery courier (UPS, Federal Express, DHL, etc.) or in person to the local Registrar's Office by the voter

3. Someone else may return my absentee ballot to the Registrar's Office?

False - Voters must return their own ballot in person.  Voters must present their voter identification when returning their ballot.

4. Virginia has early voting

False - Virginia offers no-excuse in person absentee voting beginning 45 days prior to the election.  In addition to regular office hours, the Registrar's office is open the two Saturdays preceding the election for in person absentee voting.

5. Mail Voting and Absentee Voting are the same thing

False - Some states offer mail voting which requires the Registrar's office to automatically mail a ballot to each registered voter. Typically, in these states voters will register by Party so that they may receive the correct Primary ballot when Primary Elections occur.  Absentee Voting by mail requires the voter to submit an absentee ballot application form to request a ballot to be sent to them.

6. My absentee ballot must be delivered by Election Day to be counted

False - Absentee ballots must either returned in person by the voter by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day -OR- postmarked by Election Day and received by the local Registrar Office by noon on the third business day in order to be counted.

7. I have to complete an absentee ballot application for every election I want to vote by mail for

False - You may indicate on the absentee ballot application form that you want to receive absentee ballots by mail for the calendar year.  Please be sure to indicate Party preference if you would like to receive a ballot for a Primary Election as Virginians do not register by party.  

8. Once I am on the Annual absentee Ballot list I will automatically receive ballots every year

False - You must return the annual absentee ballot application form each year to remain on the annual absentee ballot list. Renewal forms are mailed by the Registrar's Office in December to voters for the next calendar year.  You may also renew or request an absentee ballot online through the Virginia Department of Elections website.