RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- Saturday is the last day to vote early in person ahead of Virginia’s June 8th Primary Election.
Republicans chose their nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in a convention last month. Now, Democrats need to decide who should compete statewide, though there are also a number of local races on the ballot that members of either party can participate in.
Under a new law, people don’t need an excuse to vote absentee in Virginia.
State data shows more than 83,000 people have taken advantage of the option so far. That’s already more than double early voting totals from 2017.
A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Elections said, as of Friday afternoon, more than half of mailed ballots had yet to be returned.
Those postmarked by June 8th will be accepted through noon on June 11th. Virginians can also hand deliver their ballots to certified drop boxes as an alternative.
While most pandemic restrictions have been lifted in Virginia, Richmond General Registrar Keith Balmer said they are still using the same COVID-19 prevention strategies that were put in place for the 2020 Election.
“There will be signs up that will still encourage our voters to wear masks. I think it just puts our election officers a little more at ease,” Balmer said. “Whether you wear a mask or don’t wear a mask, it will not hinder your ability to cast a ballot.”
On Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam, First Lady Pamela Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney voted early after stumping for candidate and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
Northam made the case for keeping Democrats in power and called on Virginians to participate in the process.
“Good things happen when we elect Democrats,” Northam said “It’s our god given right to get out there and vote. It’s very important to our democracy.”