BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) The November 3 presidential election is quickly approaching, and for Virginia voters Tuesday marks an important deadline.
Oct. 13 is the final day to register to vote in the commonwealth.
Some other important deadlines include Friday, Oct. 23 which is the last day to request an absentee ballot for those wanting to vote by mail; early voting ends on Oct. 31.
Those who wish to register to vote can do so in person as long as the application is submitted Tuesday at Bristol City Hall by 5 p.m. or your local election office.
The easiest way to register is doing so online. If you are submitting your registration by mail it must be postmarked by the 13th.
Because of the pandemic there has been an increase in voting by mail in Virginia.
The numbers are up significantly from the past. The Bristol election commission reports that in the 2016 presidential election there was a total of around 750 absentee voters by mail. Already in the 2020 election there have been 2,000 absentee ballots requested and election day is still three weeks away.
The commission is urging anyone who plans to vote by mail to get their application in as soon as possible.
“We have not seen a significant issue here in Bristol with people not receiving their ballots, but of course, as much time as possible in order to receive it and turn it back around is to your benefit because we want everybody’s vote to count,” said Penny Limburg, director of elections for Bristol, VA.
Another option that has been successful for Bristol in the ongoing pandemic is drive-thru voting.
“You can vote right in your car, you don’t even have to get out. You are not exposed to anyone face-to-face contact,” said Limburg.
Aside from the presidential choice, Bristol, VA voters have the unique opportunity to weigh in on a controversial, local referendum. On the ballot is the choice to vote “yes” or “no” to the Bristol Hardrock Casino to operate at the old mall property.
The decision is left up to voters on the future of this casino project.
For voter registration, the election commission reports local numbers are on the rise for those registering which is typical of a presidential election year. Early voting numbers have also been steady over the past few weeks.
Bristol City Hall will also be fully operational and open for early voting following a positive COVID-19 test result among a staff member. The building was deep cleaned over the weekend and is reopening Tuesday, Oct. 13.