Are You Registered? Deadline Approaches For Virginia Residents
By Amie Knowles
September 22, 2020

In order to vote this year, you must register by Oct. 13.

DANVILLE – Anyone not registered to vote in Virginia has just under a month to change that. The deadline is easy to forget. If you moved from a different state, a different county or just away for college, registering to vote can get put off. Or maybe you just never filled out the forms when you turned 17. Regardless of why it didn’t happen, if you want to cast a ballot in November, you need to be registered by Oct. 13. The same goes for anyone who needs to change their registration.

When a Virginia resident reaches age 17 – and proves they’ll be 18 by the time the next general election rolls around – they may register to vote. There are currently three ways to register in Virginia – in person, through the mail or online. 

If you want to handle it in person, there are several options. You can go to the local voter registration office, state or local government offices, state government offices, armed forces recruitment offices, public libraries, the Virginia Department of Elections office, any local Department of Motor Vehicles office and at voter registration drives. 

What Do I Need To Bring? 

Peggy Petty, the city of Danville’s general registrar, said there’s multiple options, depending on the types of documents you have.

“If they have a Virginia driver’s license, there’s an online portal through the Virginia Department of Elections. They would have to have their driver’s license number as well as their full social security number,” Petty said. “If you go through that process to get registered, it would show up electronically in my portal.”

The state’s website walks you through the online process here. It confirms each step’s finished as you move forward. 

If registering in person, you don’t need documents in order to prove your identity – just a good memory.

“The main thing is that they know their Social Security Number by heart or have the document with them. We are not required to see anything,” Petty said. “They are under oath when they do the application and sign it that all of the information is true and correct – and that’s subject to a felony penalty of perjury.”

Keep Your Information Updated

Once a person’s registered in their state, that could be the end of the process. However, in most cases, voters will need to update their information a couple of times in their lives. Otherwise, they could face a problem at the polls.

“They do have to update information, such as if they move, they would need to update their home resident address,” Petty said. “As long as they’re voting, they’d never have to register again as long as they’re keeping their address up to date.”

The registrar further explained that if the state performed an address match through the United States Postal Service which yielded inaccurate results, the discrepancy could cause the registration to go inactive.

“And then if they didn’t vote in two federal elections, then they would come off, or purge, or be removed for no voting, for inactivity,” Petty said. 

Other reasons people may update their voter registrations are because of a name change or an alteration of political affiliation. 

Now if you do need to update registration, it’s not as simple as pressing a button. You’ll need some documents to prove your identity. These include: voter confirmation documents they received after they registered to vote, a Virginia DMV-issued driver’s license or identification card, a valid United States passport, any ID card issued by the US, Virginia or a local Virginia government, Any student ID card issued by a US university or community college, a valid student ID issued by a public school or private school in Virginia, an employer-issued photo ID card, any current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document with their name and address or an ID Confirmation Statement.

“It can’t be, like, a credit card statement,” Petty said.

Time’s Almost Up 

That last day for Virginians to register to vote – or to make a change to their voter registration – is Tuesday, October 13. 

Amie Knowles reports for Dogwood. She can be reached at [email protected]

  • Amie Knowles

    Amie is Dogwood's community editor. She has been in journalism for several years, winning multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association for news and features content. A lifelong Virginia resident, her work has appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee and NWNC Magazine.

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