ROANOKE, Va. – With so many different variables at play this election year, early voting began Friday in Virginia, a new COVID-19-era option in the Commonwealth.
In some parts of the state, long lines of voters were seen with hundreds waiting to cast their ballot.
In Roanoke, while the lines were long at times, the wait was reasonable for voters like Meredith Shogren and James Arrington.
“There are not a lot of lines. Not a lot of people as you can see," said Arrington.
“It was good. It was smooth," said Shogren.
In past presidential elections, Virginia voters needed a reason to cast an early ballot; however, this year, anyone can vote early.
“Voters have three options this year. You can vote in person on Election Day. You can vote early without an excuse in the 45-days before Election Day. You can also stay home and vote by mail. Whatever your comfort level is," explained Andrew Cochran, Roanoke City Director of Elections & General Registrar.
Early in-person voting for the November general election ends October 31, the Saturday before the election.
In Roanoke, you can early vote at the registrar’s office Monday-Friday 8-5 p.m. and Saturday, October 24 and 31 as well.
Here are other ways to vote in Virginia:
- Absentee mail-in ballot: You can request a mail-in ballot through Friday, Oct. 23.
- Voting by Drop box: An August law passed in special session now provides ballot drop boxes. The law allows for drop boxes at precincts and satellite locations as well as the Office of the General Registrar (Office of Elections).
- Voting on Election Day: Polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Anyone in line by 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.
If you want to vote in this upcoming election, registration ends Oct. 13.