Absentee Voting by Mail

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Voting by mail is easy and secure.

This year, you can request to receive your ballot in the mail to easily and securely vote from the physically-distanced safety of home. Virginia law changed on July 1, 2020 and no longer requires a voter to provide a reason for voting absentee.

STEP 1: APPLY


If you plan to vote absentee by mail, you just have to apply first (AKA request a ballot). Absentee ballot applications are available now and requesting one only takes 5 minutes.

ONLINE: You can apply online at elections.virginia.gov by October 23, 2020.

IN-PERSON: Paper applications are available on the outside of our City Hall building near the drive thru window (Scott Street side), at the drive-thru window during normal business hours, or we are happy to send you one if you would like to call us at 276-645-7318. Paper applications may be returned by October 23 using one of the following methods:

  • Mail - Office of Voter Registration, 300 Lee St. Bristol, VA 24201
  • Fax - (276) 645-7331
  • Email - vote@bristolva.org
  • Drop-off - City Hall (drive-thru or inside), 300 Lee St. Bristol, VA 24201, 8 am to 5 pm weekdays

2020 Timeline for STEP 1: APPLY 



NOW:

Absentee ballot applications are available now.  We encourage you to submit your request as soon as possible to allow the maximum amount of time to receive and return your ballot.  Absentee ballots will be mailed the week of September 14.


10/23/2020:

The deadline to apply to receive an absentee ballot by mail is Friday, October 23, 2020. This is the online deadline as well as the deadline for our office to receive your paper application by mail, fax, email, or drop-off. If you mail your request, it must be received by our office by 5:00 p.m.

STEP 2: VOTE


An absentee ballot will be sent directly to you by mail. Carefully review the instructions included with your ballot to complete it. It takes less than 5 minutes to fill out and return your ballot.

Did you know your vote by mail package has over a dozen security features built into it?  This includes verification of every ballot received against your voter record and that you have signed the affidavit on the ballot return envelope. Don’t forget to sign your envelope!  (A recent consent decree by the courts removes the requirement to obtain a witness signature for the November 3, 2020 election.  What this means: Your ballot will not be disqualified if it is missing a witness signature.)

NOTE: There are special federal ID requirements for certain first time absentee by mail voters. For persons who registered to vote in Virginia by mail, federal law requires them to show identification (ID) when voting for the first time in a federal election if they did not send a copy of one of these IDs with their voter registration applications. If this applies to a voter, they will be sent a notice explaining the special requirement.

2020 Timeline for STEP 2: VOTE


9/18/2020:

Absentee ballots will be mailed to approved applicants on or before Friday, September 18, 2020.


9/18/2020-11/3/2020:

Cast your vote by mail during this period. Don't forget to sign your envelope!

STEP 3: RETURN


You may return your ballot by postal mail or drop your voted ballot off at the Office of Elections and Voter Registration or the early voting room located in the city council chambers. The drive-thru window will be available for drop-off during regular business hours or you may come inside. Drop boxes will also be available at each precinct on election day, however, we encourage you to bring your ballot to the office if possible so that it may be counted right away on election day.

A few notes and helpful reminders:
  • You may return your ballot to any designated drop-off site listed above.
  • We verify every ballot return envelope with your voter record before counting your ballot. Make sure you correctly and accurately sign your ballot.  (A recent consent decree by the courts removes the requirement to obtain a witness signature for the November 3, 2020 election if you believe you may not safely have a witness present.  What this means: Your ballot will not be disqualified if it is missing a witness signature.)
  • If you choose to mail in your ballot, you may want to use "Track My Ballot," which allows you to digitally follow your specific absentee ballot back to our office after you mail it in.

2020 Timeline for STEP 3: RETURN


9/18/2020-11/3/2020:

Return your absentee ballot during this period. Drop-off will be available soon at our office drive thru window upon installation of the new drawer. Your ballot may be returned to City Hall (drive-thru or inside), 300 Lee St. Bristol, VA 24201 before or on Election Day or dropped off at your voting precinct on Election Day.
  • NOTE: Deliver your ballot only in your provided envelope only. Ballots cannot be sent in care of or returned by another individual. We verify every signature before counting your ballot. Make sure you correctly and accurately sign your ballot.

11/3/2020:

The deadline to postmark your absentee ballots or hand-deliver your voted absentee ballot in person is 7:00pm on Election Day, November 3, 2020.

11/6/2020:

The deadline for our office to receive mail-in absentee ballots is Friday, November 6, 2020 at 12pm (noon). Ballots must be postmarked on or by Election Day (Tuesday, November 3, 2020).
NOTICE TO ABSENT UNIFORMED-SERVICE AND OVERSEAS CITIZEN VOTERS:
The Virginia Department of Elections has issued an official notice of the General and Special Election to be conducted in the Commonwealth of Virginia on November 3, 2020.

NOTICE TO FIRST-TIME VOTERS:
There are special federal ID requirements for certain first-time voters who vote absentee by mail. For persons who registered to vote in Virginia by mail, federal law requires them to send identification (ID) when voting for the first time in a federal election if they did not send a copy of one of these IDs with their voter registration application. If this applies to a voter, they will be sent a notice explaining the special requirement.
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Bristol Virginia Office of Elections and Voter Registration

City Hall, 300 Lee Street, Bristol, VA 24201 • Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm
Visit us inside City Hall or at our drive-thru (located on the Scott Street side of the building)
Phone: 276-645-7318 • Fax: 276-645-7331 • Email: vote@bristolva.org • Facebook • Twitter