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College students may have questions about how to register and where to vote in Virginia. The following information is specific to college students and explains residency requirements for voter registration and special absentee privileges for certain students.
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General Elections are held in Charlottesville every November on the first Tuesday after the first Monday. If the political parties call for Primary Elections, they are always held on the second Tuesday in June. Presidential Primaries are held on the second Tuesday in March in presidential election years. Special Elections are held as necessary. City Council and School Board Elections are held with the regularly scheduled November election in odd numbered years.
All polling places are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election days.
Yes, Virginia voters are required to show a form of photo identification when voting in-person. Any voter who does not present acceptable identification may instead sign a statement, subject to felony penalties, that they are the named registered voter who they claim to be. Any voter who does not present acceptable identification or sign this statement must vote a provisional ballot. The following are examples of accepted photo ID. Please note that an out-of-state driver’s license is not an acceptable form of photo ID for voting in Virginia.
If you haven’t updated your voter registration record since your move or name change, please complete one of the steps below to assure your voter registration record is properly updated. Remember, to be eligible to vote, you must be registered at your current residence address. Registration records are closed for the 21 days preceding any election. Your new or updated registration must be submitted before the books close in order to be processed for the general election. If you have been registered in another state and have moved into Virginia, you must complete the Virginia application to register in Virginia.
Complete a Virginia Voter Registration Application:
Please note: We cannot accept address or name changes by e-mail.
You are not stating a party preference when you go to vote, you are merely indicating in which party’s primary you wish to participate. Under Virginia law, a dual primary consists of two separate elections (or nominating events) conducted on the same day for the same or different office or offices. These are two distinct events occurring on the same day in accordance with Virginia law. Each requires separate poll books, separate ballots and/or ballots boxes, and separately tallied results. Virginia law only allows you to vote in only one of these two separate elections.
Please file your suggestion or complaint with the Office of Voter Registration or the Charlottesville Electoral Board via email, by phone, or in writing. We take all such complaints and suggestions very seriously and view the voting public as the most important arbiters of change in the elections process. If you are not happy with your voting or registration experience, we will do everything we can to work with you to prevent such a situation in the future.
Feel free to call us at 434-970-3250 with any questions. These links below explain how to use the equipment.
If you have been convicted of a felony in Virginia you can only vote if you’ve had your voting rights restored by the Governor. If you were convicted in another state, your rights may have been restored by other authority. For more information on the Restoration of Rights process, go to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website, or call our office at 434-970-3250.
In Charlottesville, we have an Election Page program for High School students who want to get first-hand experience in the democratic process. If you’re interested in this opportunity, please talk with your government teacher or call the Office of Voter Registration at 434-970-3250 for more information.
A college student registers to vote in Virginia the same as any other applicant: every prospective voter must submit a voter registration application (PDF). Remember, you must update your voter registration information whenever you change your residence.
Every voter in Virginia must submit their residential address when registering to vote. (A mailbox cannot serve as a residential address.) If you are unable to receive mail at your address, you must also submit a local mailing address. A dorm or college address can be an acceptable residential address and does not disqualify you from voting.
A prospective voter must be a resident of the precinct where he seeks to register. In order to establish "residency," a prospective voter must have a physical location where they intend to stay for an unlimited time. The applicant must determine and declare their residence and may change their intent at any time.
A college student votes in the same manner as any other registered voter: you may vote in person on Election Day or, if eligible, by absentee ballot.
Students (and their spouses) attending a college or university outside of the locality where they are registered to vote are eligible to vote by absentee ballot. For Charlottesville-registered students, this includes UVA and PVCC (which are both primarily in Albemarle County).
Absentee votes may be cast in person in the locality where the student is registered, either in person or by mail. In-person absentee voting in our office begins 46 days before Election Day and continues through 5:00 pm on the Saturday preceding Election Day. It is the easiest, quickest and most certain and secure way to vote absentee. For more information on IN PERSON or mail absentee voting, please see our Absentee Voting page .
Students registered in another state may wish to visit the U. S. Election Assistance Commission’s website for election information specific to their state, district or territory.
Legal residence for voter registration purposes may or may not be the same as legal residence for census, driver’s license, federal and state income tax, state vehicle tax, tuition, or financial aid purposes. The State Board of Elections and local election officials are not trained in these complex areas. You should consult appropriate advisers regarding these issues.