Voters confuse early voting with absentee voting in Virginia

Posted at 3:19 PM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-27 17:05:02-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Chesapeake's Voter Registrar says the phone is ringing off the hook with voters who are confusing absentee voting with early voting. On Monday six states began allowing in-person early voting. By Friday, that number will grow to twelve states.

North Carolina allows early voting but Virginia does not. It still has the traditional absentee voting system.

"Early voting is when you go in and cast your ballot without having to fill out an application. It's basically no excuse voting," Chesapeake Voter Registrar Marylynn Pinkerman told News 3.

"Virginia does not have that, we have absentee voting where you actually have to have a reason to be voting before the election," Pinkerman added.

There are 19 different reasons you can give to request an absentee ballot, and studies show many Virginians are voting that way. The Virginia Public Access Project reported last week that in-person absentee voting is up 23 percent in 2016 since the 2012 presidential election. It has increased more than 60 percent in Northern Virginia.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is quickly approaching. Voters have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1 to request a ballot from their local registrars' office of the state. It has to be received by the registrar by 7 p.m. on election day to be counted.

The last day to appear at your local registrar's office to vote in-person absentee is Saturday, November 5.

Time Magazine reports absentee voting dates back to the Civil War, while early in-person voting began in Texas in the late 1980's. It gained in popularity after the contested election of 2000 as a way to reduce pressure on election officials who may be overwhelmed by a large turnout on election day.


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