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Last day to register to vote in Virginia's June primary is May 26

While there will be in-person voting on Tuesday, localities preferred people to vote absentee by mail. | Credit: WHSV
While there will be in-person voting on Tuesday, localities preferred people to vote absentee by mail. | Credit: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: May. 26, 2020 at 12:10 PM EDT
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Tuesday, May 26, is the last day to register to vote in Virginia's June primary elections.

The commonwealth's primary election – which will determine the Republican candidate facing Senator Mark Warner this November, as well as candidates in a few House of Representatives races across Virginia – was originally scheduled for June 9, but postponed by two weeks to June 23 (via

) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Ralph Northam

, using the statutory authority given to Virginia governors to postpone any local or state elections by up to two weeks.

May's local elections were also

after the General Assembly did not vote on the governor's recommendation to move those races to November.

Any voters unsure if their registration information is correct, including new address for anyone who's moved, or who wants to register for the first time, can handle the process online at

.

For this year's June primary, registered voters can vote in person at their local polling place on Election Day or by absentee ballot through mail, which is the process Governor Northam and many state officials, including the Virginia Department of Elections, are recommending amid social distancing and other policies designed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The governor, in his briefing the day before May's local elections, called voting by mail the "safest way to vote at this time" and reassured Virginians that it's secure too.

However, he said the department of elections will be working to make sure all polling places and poll workers are as safe as possible as well.

Anyone who plans to vote absentee for the June primary elections needs to request an absentee ballot by Tuesday, June 16 at 5 p.m. to give time for their local registrar to send them a ballot.

The General Assembly's recently passed

hasn't yet taken effect — so you'll still need to chose from a list of pre-approved reasons to request your ballot.

You can request online that an absentee ballot be mailed to you at

or by downloading and printing a request form at

and then returning the completed and signed form to your local General Registrar’s office by mail, fax, or scanned attachment to an email. Contact information for General Registrar offices is on the form. Forms are also available in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean.

Voters completing a paper application are asked to choose reason 2A, “my disability or illness,” to complete their form. Voters completing an online application to request an absentee ballot will need to follow the prompts and select “I have a reason or condition that prevents me from going to the polls on Election Day.” You will then have the option to choose “my disability or illness” as the reason for your request, which the Department of Elections says will be accepted due to the pandemic.

A federal judge has

, so, pending any future court decisions, casting an absentee ballot for the June primary will not require a witness signature. Herring has said that's to benefit homebound seniors and others who cannot safely have someone else present to sign as a witness during the pandemic.

Absentee ballots then need to be returned by 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 20, ahead of Election Day on Tuesday, June 23.

“Elections are a critical function of our government,” said Attorney General Herring. “We will do everything in our power to maintain the integrity of our democratic process while ensuring the safety of all Virginians.”

You can find a full list of the candidates running in Virginia's June primaries

.

What to know about preventing the virus

Most people don't suffer much from COVID-19, but it can cause severe illness in the elderly and people with existing health problems.

It spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract the virus by touching those objects or surfaces and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe respiratory illness. In a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can cause death, particularly among those who are older or who have chronic medical conditions. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

To lower the risk of respiratory germ spread, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages the following effective behaviors:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Avoid contact with sick people.

• Avoid non-essential travel.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent or antiviral medication to treat COVID-19. The best way to avoid illness is preventing exposure, which is why governments around the world have implemented Stay at Home orders.

For the latest factual information on COVID-19, you're encouraged to check both the

and the

.

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