Time to vote: A guide to early voting starting Friday

By Karen Kirk:

As of this Friday, Fairfax County residents can choose Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be their president and vice president at the Fairfax County Government Center, where early voting begins in person and mail-in absentee ballots can be dropped off.

There are three ways to vote:

  1. In-person early voting.
  2. Absentee voting by mail (in which your ballot can also be dropped off).
  3. Voting in person on November 3.
In-person voting

You no longer need a reason to vote early in Virginia. The first thing that you should do is check your voter registration status to make sure it’s up-to-date. The voter registration deadline is October 13.

  • From this Friday through October 31, you can vote in person at the Fairfax County Government Center, Suite 323, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035, conference rooms 2 and 3.
  • From this Friday through October 13, the hours will be 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Beginning on October 14, hours are extended to between 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays.

These satellite locations will open for absentee voting from October 14- October 31 — Monday through Friday, 1 p.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Great Falls is only open on Saturdays beginning October 17.)

Mail-in Ballots

This Friday, Virginia also will begin mailing ballots to those who have applied for absentee ballots. The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot by mail, fax, or email is Friday, October 23, by 5 p.m. Due to reported problems of slow mail delivery by the United States Postal Service, you should request a ballot as soon as possible and return it quickly.

Your ballot must be postmarked by the Office of Elections no later than November 3 and must be received by noon on November 6. You can start the process and track the status of your mail-in ballot request here here.

If you decide that you don’t want to mail your ballot due to slow mail delivery, the Virginia General Assembly has approved the use of drop boxes at precincts and satellite locations as well as the Office of Elections in the Fairfax County Government Center, Suite 323. But only when those locations are open. Voters can return their ballot to any precinct from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. on Election Day, November 3.

Voters who requested a mail-in ballot but decide they want to vote in person on Election Day, should bring their mail ballot with them to their voting precinct from 6 a.m.-7 p.m., on November 3, where officials will void it.

If you have a disability, you can request to vote curbside on Election Day. A phone number will be prominently displayed outside of the voting locations that you can call, and a voting machine will be brought out to you. Here is more information on voting disability services.

Here’s more information on early voting.

Main Photo: Photo of Joe Biden provided by Amanda Linton and photo of Kamala Harris provided by Deshundra Jefferson.


Karen Kirk is the Deputy Editor/Photo Editor of The Blue View and a retired journalist who worked for the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, which later became the McClatchy/Tribune News Service.