Voters encouraged to use alternate voting methods because of the coronavirus

Across Virginia, May elections are now on the 19th, June’s primaries are now on the 23rd

ROANOKE, Va. – The coronavirus has changed the way we live; now, it could change the way we vote.

Roanoke City Elections Director Andrew Cochran said the number of absentee ballot applications have skyrocketed to six times more than normal because of social distancing concerns.

Cochran hopes even more people turn to absentee voting in order to stay safe.

“You can apply online, and that will transmit automatically to us,” Cochran said. “Also, at our front door, there are paper application if you want to fill one out. We have a box where you can leave it when it’s done.”

In-person voting is still an option for the upcoming election, but Cochran will set up curbsite voting in order to minimize contact between voters and poll workers.

For some, the next election will be May 19, while for others, their next election will now be June 23.

Both elections were pushed back two weeks by Gov. Ralph Northam.

This year, Roanoke does not have an election in May, as city council voted last year to move its municipal election to the same day as the presidential election.

The city’s next election is the Republican Senate primary, which was moved back from June 9 to June 23.