Virginia’s Primary Election Season Formally Kicks Off on Friday as Early Voting Begins

Sean Pavone/

By Carolyn Fiddler

May 3, 2023

Thousands of Virginians will be selecting their party’s General Assembly candidates in primary elections this June, and many will be able to begin voting as early as this week. Here’s what you need to know.

Virginia is one of just a few states with big elections in November 2023. Voters in the commonwealth will cast ballots for all 100 members of the House of Delegates and all 40 members of the state Senate on Nov. 7, 2023. In some of these contests, the field is set – no more than one Democrat and one Republican is vying for the seat. 

But big November elections mean that Virginia is home to big primaries, too; this year’s will be held on June 20, 2023. Across Virginia’s 133 cities and counties, 66 will hold primary elections for at least one office. In 24 House districts and 20 Senate districts, more than one Democrat or Republican is seeking their party’s nomination. Depending on where you live, you might have the opportunity to both select your party’s nominee on June 20 and to cast a ballot for them again in November. (You can check out a full list of primary candidates here.)

Do you need to register to vote or update your existing voter registration? May 30 is the deadline take care of that if you want to vote in the June 20 primary election.

Thanks to absentee and early voting laws, primary voters have myriad options for casting their primary ballots without worrying if they’re going to be busy or vacationing on June 20.

Early in-person voting for the summer primaries begins on May 5, 2023 at your local registrar’s office. The final day of in-person early voting is on Saturday, June 17.

Would you like to vote by mail instead of in person? The deadline to apply for a primary ballot to be mailed to you is June 9, 2023; your request must be received by your local voter registration office by 5 p.m.  If you do opt to vote in the summer primary by mail, your ballot must be postmarked by or on June 20 and received by noon on June 23. If you’re worried about mail delaying your ballot, you can complete and return the ballot yourself to your local registrar’s office by 7 p.m. on June 20.

You can find more voting information on the Department of Elections website.

  • Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler is Dogwood's chief political correspondent. She is also the nation’s foremost expert in state politics with almost two decades of experience in statehouse machinations, and her comic book collection is probably bigger than yours.

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