Voters can only vote by absentee ballot if they have an accepted justification.  Absentee ballots should be requested as far in advance as possible to allow time for the local elections office to mail the ballot to the voter and for the voter to complete and return the ballot.

  • Voters applying for an absentee ballot by mail must make sure the local election office receives the application at least seven days before Election Day.  For the 2017 general election the request must be recieved by October 31st if by email, or November 4th if submitted in person. 
  • Completed absentee ballots must be returned to the correct registrar’s office before the close of the polls on Election Day 
  • Voters may also apply in-person at their local registrar’s office and cast an absentee ballot in the same trip (in-person absentee voting) up to three days before Election Day. 
  • Being a student attending a college or university is an accepted justification for voting by absentee ballot, BUT you must attend school outside of the locality (county or city) where you are registered to vote.   For example, if you attend James Madison University and you are registered to vote in Fairfax County, then you may request an absentee ballot based on your status as a student.

For more information on absentee voting and in-person absentee voting opportunities visit or contact your local registrar’s office, or visit the State Board of Elections website at:

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