Voting by mail can protect both public health and democracy.  The good news is that every registered voter in Virginia can vote by mail in both the June 23rd primary and the November 3rd general election.  Due to the ongoing health concerns from COVID-19, the PWC Office of Elections STRONGLY encourages all voters to request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.  All of the details are available at www.pwcvotes.org

Until July, Virginia law still requires voters to have an “excuse” to vote early.  However, the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections, pursuant to an executive order from Governor Northam, issued a guidance several weeks ago which allows all voters in the Commonwealth to vote absentee by mail in the June election by using Code 2A (My Disability or Illness) as their “excuse.”  

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is June 16th and all ballots must be returned to the Office of Elections by 7PM on June 23rd.  All absentee ballots are counted on election day.

Virginia law also requires that persons voting by mail have a witness present when they mark their ballots and both the voter and witness must sign the return envelope.  The League of Women Voters filed a lawsuit challenging the witness requirement in the context of the current health environment.  The League and Attorney General Herring agreed to a consent order which was approved by the court on May 5th to waive the witness requirement for the June 23rd primary.  Therefore, absentee by mail ballots do not require a witness signature on the return envelope for this primary election.

Earlier this year the General Assembly passed legislation to provide “no excuse” early voting for all voters in the November election, so vote by mail will be available to everyone this fall.

The Office of Elections is currently providing curbside in-person absentee voting at our main office in Manassas.  We will have all of our 93 precincts open as usual on June 23rd and November 3rd.  However, to protect the health of both voters and our election officers, we strongly encourage voting by mail.

Keith Scarborough

Secretary, Prince William County Board of Elections

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