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PLAN YOUR VOTE: New Options For Voters This Fall

By Leonard E. Colvin
Chief Reporter
New Journal and Guide

Fear of exposure to COVID-19 in-person at the polls on Election Day, November 3.
Fear that the postal service will not deliver mail-in ballots in time to be counted.
Uncertainty about the outcome after the election ends.
These are some of the main worries of voters, as the nation gears up for the General Election on November 3.
Another question mark arose over the past month as residents began receiving voter registration applications in the mail.
Local Registrars have received thousands of calls from voters who were, or still are suspicious of the mailings.
Are they fraudulent and a contrivance to confuse and sabotage the upcoming election?
The mailings are from the Center for Voter Information (CVI) which is based in Washington, D.C. CVI is a non-partisan and non-profit organization “that works to provide even-handed and unbiased information about candidates and their positions on issues,” according to its website.
While many people are suspicious and fearful and even trashing them, local voting officials report many others are sending them to Registrars.
Mary Lynn Pinkerman, the General Registrar for Chesapeake, said the applications are viable and can be used to register to vote and to secure a mail-in ballot.
The CVI applications have the voter’s basic information such as their names, address, with the address of their respective Registrar if they want to mail it.
If the voter uses the application from the CVI, they must fill them out and send to their city’s Registrar.
Pinkerman said at one point she was receiving a least a thousand of the CVI ballots a day. But now the submissions have slowed.
She said the fear of COVID-19 has increased the demand for mail-in ballot applications in Chesapeake and across the state.
Voters may also file online for an absentee ballot to be sent to their homes. Pinkerman said personnel at her office will process the online application within three days and a ballot will be sent to an applying address within a week.
Citizens will be able to vote absentee via mail or in person at their local registrar’s office starting September 18.
State law says that citizens will no longer need an “excuse” to vote absentee.
If voting absentee, advocates and registrars urge residents to vote as early as possible via mail or in-person.
In Hampton Roads, the mail is collected and then sent to a site near Richmond for sorting. Mail for residents in Hampton Roads is sent back to the region within two to  three days, instead of overnight.

A New Option: Satellite Voting Sites

To assure their voting systems will not be
overwhelmed on November 3, Hampton Roads locales are creating satellite voting sites where voters may cast their ballots before November 3, as they would at their Registrar’s Offices.
This is the first time that locales have created such a plan.
Votes will not be tallied until Election Day, officials said.
You may call the Registrar’s office in the city where you live for your city’s satellite sites:

  • CHESAPEAKE – (757) 277-9797
  • HAMPTON – (757) 727-6218
  • NEWPORT NEWS – 757-933-2311
  • NORFOLK – 757-664-4353
  • PORTSMOUTH – (757) 393-8644
  • SUFFOLK – 757-514-7750
  • VIRGINIA BEACH –  (757) 385-8683

If you have any questions about deadlines and eligibility related to voting Virginia go online to
https://www.elections.virginia.gov/index.html.

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