When the Culpeper County Voter Registration and Election Office opened Friday morning, about 20 people were waiting to participate in day one of Virginia’s recently enacted early in-person voting. By the day’s end, Deputy Registrar Melissa Hart said 206 votes were cast.
“We have had a good steady flow all day long,” she said.
Beyond early in-person voting, Hart said the office has kept busy and mailed out 4,000 absentee ballots on Thursday. Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, she said that compares to “maybe a few hundred” absentee ballots that are usually sent this early.
Hart explained that voters must simply present their identification to vote early, whereas applications must be filled out to obtain absentee ballots.
“It’s different for us and it’s easier for the voter because they don’t have to stand there and fill the form out,” she said.
A line may form outside of the office, located at 151 N. Main St., as only two people can ride an elevator to the registrar’s office. Inside the office, Hart explained that face masks are required and social distancing policies are in place.
In addition to making it easier on voters, Electoral Board Chairman James Holmes said early voting should prevent questions arising regarding mailed in votes. He added that the first day of early voting proved to be a “smooth, orderly process.”
Resident Jack Sizemore was done voting less than 10 minutes after arriving at the building and said the process was “absolutely painless.”
Sizemore, accompanied by his wife Karen, said they voted early “to get it out of the way” and avoid larger crowds because “I don’t see us changing votes” by Election Day.
Hart noted that both the in-person and absentee votes will be tallied on election night.
The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail is Oct. 23.
Early voting can be conducted at the registrar’s office 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The office will also be open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24. The final day for early in person voting is Saturday, Oct. 31 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.