To vote by absentee ballot, please follow these steps:
- Make sure you are eligible to vote absentee under one of the acceptable reasons. Currently, due to COVID-19, any registered voter may request an absentee ballot using reason code 2A.
- Decide whether you need to vote absentee by mail or in person by examining factors such as your ability to get to the Voter Registration Office and the proximity of the election. We generally recommend that anybody wishing to vote absentee within two weeks of the election vote absentee in person if at all possible.
- In person absentee voting in your local Office of Voter Registration begins 45 days before each election, during all office hours (normally 8:30 to 4:30 Monday through Friday) and ends at 5 pm on last Saturday before the election. The office is open the last Saturday before any primary, and the last two Saturdays before any November election, and may set additional hours. See our home page for that information.
- You will receive and fill out your absentee application here and must show an acceptable photo ID. If you do not have an acceptable photo ID, you can apply for one here for free, for voting purposes only.
- Curbside voting is available for an in person absentee voter who is disabled or ill, or who is age 65 or older and has a qualifying absentee reason (age is not an absentee reason). Call us if you have any questions at 434-970-3250.
- If you need a ballot mailed to you, apply online at the Virginia Department of Elections. Complete all fields, including the applicable reason and any required supporting information, whether or not you need assistance casting your ballot, and all requested personal information. The application is also available in the Voter Registration Office and can be printed Virginia Absentee Ballot Application (PDF).
- Return the application to the Office of Voter Registration online or by mail, fax or email (a scanned image or clear photograph). We must receive your application no later than 5 pm on the Tuesday before the election. Please apply earlier if you can. You can apply up to a year in advance, and ballots are mailed starting 45 days before the election. Make sure that you will have enough time to receive, vote and return your ballot by mail. We must receive your voted ballot by 7 pm on Election Day or it cannot be counted.
Absentee Voting by Mail
The following steps apply to absentee voting by mail only:
- Look for your Absentee Ballot in the mail. If you don’t receive your ballot within a week, please call the Voter Registration Office at 434-970-3250.
- Once you receive your ballot, open it in the presence of a witness, mark it privately as you see fit, then seal it in the envelope "B" provided. Be sure to completely fill out envelope "B", sign it, and get your witness to sign it. If you have any questions about how to fill out envelope "B" please call us.
- If you said on the application that you would need assistance in reading or marking your ballot, a blue assistance form was sent with your ballot. It must be completed (whether or not assistance was needed), signed and mailed back with your ballot for your ballot to be counted.
- Once your ballot has been voted, and the envelope signed and witnessed, mail or personally return your ballot to the Charlottesville Electoral Board. (A voted ballot may not be personally returned by a person other than the voter. That will invalidate it.) We must receive your voted ballot no later than 7 pm on Election Day for it to be counted.
The Office of Voter Registration recommends that any voter wishing to vote absentee within two weeks of the election do so in person at the Voter Registration Office. Voting absentee in person is a "one-stop" process, where you apply for, are issued, and cast your ballot all at the same time.
This method ensures that your ballot is received by the deadline of 7 pm on Election Day and removes your reliance on the Post Office to deliver your ballot in time. The in person process is hassle free and is available to any voter who is eligible to cast an absentee ballot beginning 45 days before all regularly scheduled elections.