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Statement from the Arlington Electoral Board
We’re Open. In-person absentee voting for the Republican Primary for U.S. Senate opened today. We’ve received several questions about why we are opening to the public rather than conducting all-mail elections and wanted to address these concerns.
We want to remind everyone they have the option to vote by mail in these elections. ALL are eligible to vote by mail. It’s the SAFEST way to vote. You still get a STICKER.
We’ve taken an oath to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. All elections administered by the Office of Voter Registration & Elections must be conducting according to Virginia Election Laws. This includes providing in-person absentee voting 45 days before every election (24.2-701.1) and opening all polling places on Election Day (24.2-603). Moreover, elections are deemed essential and critical infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security.
We greatly value all voters in this community and the employees at the Office of Voter Registration. Their safety is a priority for us.
Voting by mail is the safest way to vote in the upcoming elections. Virginia is not a vote-by-mail state though. There are several barriers that make voting by mail an option that might not work for every voter in our community. In order to reduce these barriers, we have done the following.
- Voters must have a valid reason to request a mail ballot. All voters may choose reason “2A My disability or illness” due to COVID-19 to vote in the upcoming elections.
- Voters can request a mail ballot online. To use this service, they must have a Virginia DMV ID number. Any voter who cannot request a ballot online can:
- Ballots can only be returned via the mail or personally to the General Registrar. To facilitate the return of ballots:
- Pre-Paid Postage will be provided for all return ballots.
- Supervised Drop Locations will be available 1 week before the Election. More information is coming.
- Voters in the July 7, 2020 Special Election require a witness to observe them marking their mail ballots (See more below). We are working with organizations to provide volunteer witnesses to assist voters who live alone and are socially distancing.
- Voters will receive a postcard informing them of the option to vote-by-mail in the upcoming elections.
- Voters can track their ballot online throughout the process.
We know this is a new process for many of our voters, and we are here to assist. As we navigate the upcoming weeks, we will add additional services and procedures to help keep Arlington’s voters safe regardless of how they choose to vote.
Election Update 2 – May 8, 2020
Electoral Board Meeting: Tuesday, May 12th @ 4pm. Virtual. (Link to be posted on Vote.arlingtonva.us when available). Drawing to determine Ballot Order for the Special Election. 3 Candidates have submitted paperwork.
- Bob Cambridge (R)
- Takis Karantonis (D)
- Susan Cunningham (I)
Legal & Procedure Changes
- The June Democratic Primary for County Board has been canceled.
- U.S. District Courts have ruled that witness signatures will not be required on mail ballots for the June 23rd Primaries (Order). Notices of the change was included with ballots sent. Witness signatures are still required on ballots for the Special Election.
- The Republican Primary for U.S. Senate will still take place on June 23rd.
- We are not aware of any active requests to delay the July 7th Special Election. We anticipate it taking places as scheduled.
- We have resumed public services on the 1st floor of BGC. We are open M-F 8:30am-4:30pm.
- Applications to register to vote and request a mail ballot are available outside of all Arlington Libraries. We have provided envelopes and instructions on how to return the materials to our office.
- A drop box at BGC is still on order. We do not have an anticipated installation date. Voters can drop materials off in Azalea M-F, 8:30am-4:30pm.
- Rock the Vote has sent emails to voters in Virginia informing them of May town elections. Voters who reside in places that do not have May elections have received these emails. We’ve had no reports of anyone in Arlington receiving them but want to confirm that Arlington does not have May elections.
- An organization has created an alternate portal for voters to request a mail ballot (https://www.eabsentee.org/form/ ). We appreciate this organization’s efforts and will accept applications using this product, but do not recommend it. It takes much longer to process applications submitted by this organization. The best way for most voters to request mail ballots is via the Department of Elections Citizen Portal. It is faster, more accurate, and secure.
- A preliminary survey of Election Officers indicates that several are willing and able to work the upcoming elections. We have also received several applications from the Department of Elections thanks to a request they’ve made to State Employees.
|Election||Mail Requests||Mail Returned||In-person / Early||Total Voted|
|Special Election||752||To be mailed approx. 5/22||Starts 5/22||0|
How You Can Help?
- Adopt a Library. We posted voter registration and absentee ballot applications outside of libraries this week. We’ve left instructions for how to report if a station doesn’t have applications. We could use your help by routinely checking on them for us. If you walk past a library regularly, check on the status of the forms and let us know if it needs a refill.
- Sign up to be an Officer of Election.
As we expand services, we might have additional easy ways to help. Stay tuned.
- Can I call to receive a mail ballot? No, Voters must first apply for a mail ballot. We will mail applications requested by phone.
- Are you open? Yes, starting May 8, 2020, we are open M-F 8:30am-4:30pm. Until further notice, the public counter on the 3rd floor will remain closed. Any voters needing services should go to the 1st floor of BGC (Link).
- When is the next election? Election dates are posted online.
- Do I need a witness to sign my ballot? Yes, if voting in the July 7 Special Election. No, for the June 23 Republican Primary. See above legal note.
- Can you send me a ballot for the School Board Election? No, this is an endorsement process being conducted by the Arlington Democrats.
- Can Candidates drop off required documents? Yes, we are open for all services on the 1st floor of BGC.
- I’m an Election Officer. How will be my oath be administered? Officers working in June & July will be sent a notice early next week letting them know how they can have the Oath administered.
- Why are you holding 2 elections 2 weeks apart? Couldn’t they be held on the same day? No, a special election cannot be held at the same time as a primary election (24.2-682). The date of the Special Election was also set by the Circuit Court.
- When should voters get their July 7 Special Election mail ballots by mail? Ballots will be mailed as soon as available. We anticipate this being the week of May 22, 2020.
- Will in-person poll greeting for early voters be permissible at Courthouse for the Special Election? After June 10? Elections are deemed essential. We assume all election related activities that meet the gathering and social distancing criteria set by the State and county are permitted.