While Election Day is still more than a month away, it is the beginning of election season, and there are some things the Prince William County Office of Elections would like people to know.
This year, people will be allowed to register to vote online, where they can update personal information such as name or address changes. “For the first time, they can go to the State Board of Elections website and everything is done automatically by filling out the information online,” said Doug Geib, the Prince William County General Registrar. “Our hope is that the online registration makes it easier for all people who want to register to vote.”
People who want to register to vote online must be registered with the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The online form can be found at www.sbe.virginia.gov. It will ask for a DMV customer number, which is listed on Virginia drivers’ licenses. “We’re excited about the option because currently if we get an application through the mail from a voter, sometimes it’s missing information, and unfortunately, we have to deny that application. This will not allow the person to finish without having everything complete.”
Other voting options the folks at the Office of Elections would like people to know about are the extended hours during election season and in-person absentee voting where people can vote ahead of the elections if they have a reason-matching one or more of 19 exemptions.
Some of the exemptions include having business, personal business or vacation outside of the county on Election Day, having a disability or having religious obligations. Voters may also be eligible to vote in-person absentee if their commute and work times will exceed 11 hours between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day.
People who meet the criteria for in-person absentee voting can vote at 9250 Lee Avenue in Manassas or at the Woodbridge DMV at 2731 Caton Hill Road between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. “They can come in anytime during normal business hours; and we have extended hours where we’re open the two Saturdays prior to the election,” Geib said. “We’re also extending the hours on the Thursday prior to the election. They can walk in. Our machines are set up, and they can vote.”
The last day for in-person absentee voting is Nov. 2. Oct. 15 is the last day to register to vote or make address changes; and Oct. 29 is the last day to request absentee ballots to be mailed.
Election Day is Nov. 5.
For more information visit www.pwcgov.org/vote, call 703-792-6470, or visit www.sbe.virginia.gov.