Virginia residents able to vote early for first time this election

TAZEWELL, VA (WOAY) – Residents of Virginia will be able to vote early in a presidential election for the first time ever this year. 

Early voting has been a staple in West Virginia for many years, but residents won’t be able to vote early for another month. However, in Virginia, residents will be able to vote as early as this Friday, September 18.

According to the director of elections in Tazewell County Brian Earls, residents have been flocking to the voting office to register. 

“The early voting period begins this Friday, September 18 where you can come in person and vote ahead of time all the way through October 31. And also the absentee by mail ballots will go out this Friday as well,” Earls said.

The early voting period is 45 days, the longest in the entire country. And Tazewell County has seen a huge increase in absentee ballot requests, at 1000% more than last year.

“Some people are calling in and having us mail an application to them, and some have taken advantage of doing it online. We’ve had some third party mailing out these applications to vote by mail and we’ve been receiving those by the hundreds.”

As well, residents no longer need to give a reason when requesting an absentee ballot. Before, they needed to explain why they weren’t able to vote in-person, but this won’t be the case this year.

According to the voting office, it’s been a challenge to get everyone’s absentee requests processed in time, but they’re working hard to make sure everyone gets to vote on time. 

“We’ve had over a 1000% increase in requests for absentee by mail. So it’s numbers that we haven’t had to deal with before here in Tazewell County, but it’s a good thing.”

The last day to register to vote in Tazewell County is October 13. And early voting will last from September 18, to October 31. Votes can be cast with an absentee ballot through the mail, or in person at the voting office. 

More than 1,400 people have already requested their absentee ballot in Tazewell County.