Election Update #4 - May 22, 2020

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Registration Deadline Tuesday, May 26th

We’re asking for your help to let voters know that the deadline to register to vote for the upcoming election is Tuesday, May 26th. There is confusion as to what this means, so we’d like to explain a little bit of what happens once “books close.”

Voters can register to vote 365 days a year. VA Code 24.2-416 specifies that registration records must be closed to changes during specific periods before each Election. While a voter can register, their application cannot be processed, or as we like to say, “The books are closed.” The phrase “books closed” refers to when names were previously maintained in actual books. Prior to each election, registration books would be closed and sealed until Election Day. We currently use an electronic database to maintain registration records. So while we no longer close books, we cannot make changes after May 26th until the records reopen after the Election.

The Virginia Department of Elections lists the deadline for the Special Election as June 23rd. Books will be closed to changes May 27th to June 24th because of the Republican Primary. Voters who are not properly registered by May 26th should expect delays to their registration and will have fewer choices to cast their ballot during the Special Election. We recommend all voters check their registration this weekend.

Voters in Virginia can register Online, by Mail, or In Person. Each of these methods has a different deadline and process.

  • Online: Voters have until 11:59pm Tuesday, May 26th to submit their voter registration online. In order to complete the process entirely electronically, they must enter a Virginia DMV ID number. If they do not have a Virginia DMV ID, they need to print and either Mail or deliver their signed application In Person by the following deadlines. We cannot accept emailed applications.
  • Mail or Drop Box: Applications must be mailed with a postmark of May 26th. We recommend voters go into the post office to get the appropriate post mark. Merrifield is open until 8pm. Do Not drop off an application in a mail box as you might have missed pick-up for the day. Applications can be obtained outside of any Arlington Library or from our vote.arlingtonva.us.  Voters can also use the new Drop Box outside of 2100 Clarendon Blvd. The Drop Box will be checked early Wednesday morning. Anything received after this pick up will be considered as having missed the deadline. 
  • In Person: Voters have until 5pm on Tuesday, May 26th to register in person with us at 2100 Clarendon Blvd, Lobby. They do not need to bring anything with them.

If you want to vote in the upcoming elections, we encourage you to check your registration this weekend.

Election Update 4 – May 22, 2020

What’s New

  • Vote From Your Car (AKA Curbside Voting) – Voters casting a ballot during in person / early voting can request an appoint to vote from their car or curbside. We will bring an application and ballot out to your car. It’s not a contactless process, but it is a less contact process.
  • Vote By Mail is the only contactless voting process. Any voters concerned about in person contact are encouraged to request their mail ballot today.
  • Early / In Person Voting for Special Election Open! In Person absentee voting for the Special Election started today. We’re located at 2100 Clarendon Blvd, Lobby. All you need is your Photo ID. (And your ball point pen if you want to avoid touching anything.)
  • Closed Monday. We will be closed Monday in observation of Memorial Day.

Legal & Procedure Changes

  • A group of citizens has filed a lawsuit to remove the exemption that allows all voters to use reason code 2A to request a mail ballot because of COVID-19.
  • A lawsuit has been filed related to ballot access for House of Representative seats.
  • The Constitution and Green Parties have filed related ballot access suits.
  • In partnership with the Department of Elections, we launched a new electronic ballot delivery program for voters who reside overseas to use for the Special Election.
  • Video PSAs for Mail Voting will be available next week.
  • Postcards informing voters of their option to vote by mail will be mailed next week.



Mail Requests

Mail Returned

In-person / Early 

Total Voted

Republican Primary





Special Election





 How You Can Help?

  • Encourage voters to register to vote by Tuesday, May 26th.
  • 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.


  1. Do we need a witness to sign our absentee ballot? No, if you are casting a ballot for the Republican Primary. Yes, if you are casting a ballot for the Special Election.
  2. What do you do if you live alone and are not able to have a witness?
    1. You can request a Vote From Your Car appointment, and let Election Staff witness the process from the safety of your car.
    2. You can contact the Arlington Democrats to request a volunteer witness. rides@arlingtondemocrats.org, or phone 703-528-8588ext. 5
    3. You can contact the League of Women Voters – Arlington to request a volunteer witness. lwvarlingtonva@gmail.com
  3. Are all the precincts going to be open on election days for in-person voting? Yes. All precincts will be open for in person voting for both the June 23rd Republican Primary and July 7 Special Election.
  4. How are current conditions affecting recruitment and training for election officers both for June & July elections and for November? Recruitment is going well. We were also notified this week that we can request help from the Medical Reserve Corps if needed.
  5. Will voters be able to do in person early voting at the Courthouse? Yes. We’re open. Come on in!
  6. Will you be reserving parking spaces in the lot for voters during early voting? Yes, Orange cones will be placed in the lot marking spaces starting on Wednesday, May 28th.
  7. When you use term "curbside" voting - does that assume the voter has asked for a ballot by mail? Yes. Curbside is a process that allows us to bring ballots out to voters' cars. This process is usually reserved for voters who have difficulty entering the polling place. We’re expanding the process for early / in person voting to allow any voter to request an appoint to vote from their car.