The deadline to register to vote in Virginia is Monday, October 6. Contact either presidential campaign for information on how to register to vote, I’ve found that the campaign staff will be more than willing to help:
- Obama Campaign Register to Vote Site Obama’s registration tool was able to find my registration at my home address in 15 seconds or less.
- McCain Campaign Register to Vote Site McCain’s registration tool did not attempt to find my registration in a database, but provided a pre-filled-out registration form, ready for printing. All I needed to do was sign and provide a stamp.
Absentee voting is also available. As a California resident, I grew up with Absentee voting, since you didn’t need an official reason to vote absentee. You added your name to a list, and they sent you all ballots automatically.
In Virginia, however, you must have a statutory reason for voting absentee. There are some little-known “excuses” for absentee voting, so you can save yourself the hassle of going to the polls if you meet any of the following. I’ve put the surprising ones in bold italics:
- Students at institutions of higher learning, and their spouses
- Absent for business purposes (includes persons who are employed outside of Arlington)
- Absent for personal business or vacation (the statute is written identically to the one directly above)
- Scheduled to work at one’s workplace at least 11 of the 13 hours the polls are open (includes commuting)
- Unable to get to the polls because of disability, illness, or pregnancy
- Caretakers of confined family members
- Awaiting trial and under confinement
- Serving time for misdemeanor convictions
- Religious conflicts
- Active duty uniformed services or merchant marine personnel and dependents residing with them
- Regularly employed outside the U.S. and dependents residing with them
- Living abroad indefinitely (may be eligible to vote only for federal offices)
- Registrars, electoral board members, or officers of election scheduled to work the election
The big one is the first one in bold above. For example, if you work in the District but live in Arlington, Arlington’s absentee ballot website encourages you to vote absentee. Also, if you’re going to be out of the county on “personal business” for any duration, it appears that would qualify as well. Additionally, if you only want to vote for President and Vice President, you can request an absentee ballot for any reason. However, you won’t be able to vote for US Senator or Congressional Representative. That’s up to you.
The deadline for applying to vote absentee is October 28th. I believe your application must be received by this date in order for you to vote absentee. You can apply to vote absentee as early as a year ahead of the election.