Absentee Voting by Mail

“I want to vote absentee, but I’m worried about voting by mail."
Posted on 08/07/2020


Your Vote Counts

“I want to vote absentee, but I’m worried about voting by mail. I hear it’s not secure, and my ballot may not get counted. It might be a big problem in this election.”

We have heard from many voters asking some form of this question, so let’s look at the difference between mail-in voting and voting absentee by mail. There is a big difference.

Some states, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii do have mail-in voting, and send ballots to all registered voters, but how they do this is a better discussion for later.

Virginia allows absentee voters a choice, either vote in person during the 45 day period before the election, or have your ballot mailed to you for you to fill out and return to us. We have been doing this safely and securely since the 1950’s. We will only send voters a ballot if they request it, and if they supply us with a valid mailing address. We do not send every voter on our voter roll a ballot automatically. All of our mail has an official election mail imprint on the envelope, which means that if the address is not valid for some reason, it will not be forwarded and will be returned to us. So no ballots are just sitting in mail boxes. We also have tools like Ballot Scout which can help voters and us track their ballots. Also, only the voter may return his or her ballot in person to our office, so there can be no “ballot harvesting” like you hear about in the news.

You can make sure your ballot is counted by following the directions included in the ballot package. Especially make sure you fill out Envelope B, where you put your marked ballot, correctly with your complete RESIDENTIAL address, not a PO Box, and you and a witness sign it. Anyone over 18 may be your witness, family members included. Once you have Envelope B filled out correctly, place it in the return envelope provided in your ballot package, stamp it, and return it to us in a timely fashion. In the past we had to receive your ballot by 5 p.m. on Election Day for it to be counted, but now as long as the ballot is postmarked by Election Day and received by noon the Friday after the election, it can be counted.

Voting absentee by mail in Virginia is a great help to folks in our community who are unable to get to the polls, or may be out of the county on Election Day, like truck drivers and students. If you have any questions, please call us. Also, look out for more of these discussions on voting, and if there is a topic you would like addressed, email me at [email protected]

Terry Flynn, General Registrar. 8/7/20

Terrence P. Flynn
General Registrar
Northampton County
Post Office Box 510
Eastville, VA 23347
Phone: 6757-678-0480
Fax: 757-678-0453