In many states across the country, voters appear to be returning to in-person voting for their top preference, after vote-by-mail was greatly increased and heavily promoted during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Associated Press, many states, including key swing states, have seen massive drops in the number of requests for mail-in ballots. In Georgia, where nearly one million ballots were cast by mail in the primary elections in 2020, only about 85,000 voters have requested mail-in ballots for this year’s primary. Other states that saw similar declines include Ohio, West Virginia, and Indiana.
Voters in the Commonwealth that arrive at polling places on Election Day without a mask or face covering and refuse to wear one or vote outside will not be turned away, according to election officials.
The Virginia Department of Elections (VDOE) has given election workers throughout Virginia guidance on what to do when a voter goes to a polling precinct without a mask and does not wish to put one on.
With Tuesday’s voter registration deadline having now passed, the Commonwealth is entering the final stretches before the general elections in November and Virginians have been feverishly casting their votes with nearly 1 million in-person and absentee ballots already submitted.
Specifically, 532,983 in-person votes and 444,390 votes by mail have already been cast in the state with an additional 642,687 absentee ballot applications that have not yet been returned to general registrars, according to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) early voting dashboard.
Since the start of early voting on September 18, 482,674 Virginians have already cast their ballots for the rapidly-approaching November general election.
Of the almost half a million votes, 285,805 were in-person and 196,869 were through the mail, according to the Virginia Public Access Project’s (VPAP) early voting daily dashboard.
The coronavirus has upended everyday life in ways big and small. What happens when those disruptions overlap with voting? Thousands of state and local election officials across the U.S are sharing ideas and making accommodations to try to ensure that voters and polling places are safe amid an unprecedented pandemic.
Some are finding ways to expand access to voter registration and ballot request forms. Others are testing new products, installing special equipment or scouting outdoor voting locations.