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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Virginia allows online voting registration

Virginia is now letting people register to vote online. You can also update your address and other information online and check to see whether you’re registered or not.

This should reduce registration problems. There have been numerous incidents of people who thought they turned in a voting registration form and later found out it didn’t go through.

In some cases, registration forms have been rejected if people misread an item, such as putting in a birth date instead of current date, or skipped an item, such as failing to put the “Jr.” after a name or failing to check the box about not having been judged mentally incapacitated.  Also, mistakes have been made by staff trying to read handwritten forms.

Even if you register online, you’ll still need to check your registration status and make sure your information has been recorded. People who register online are supposed to receive a new or updated voter card in the mail. If you don’t receive one, contact the Virginia State Board of Elections.

To complete the online application process, you will need your Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customer identifier number, which is displayed on your DMV-issued identification card or driver’s license; Social Security number; and birth date.

Fairfax County residents who do not have a Virginia DMV customer number or other required information may still fill out the registration application online, but will be required to print, sign, and return the completed application to the Office of Elections, P.O. Box 10161, Fairfax, VA 22038. You may also bring it in-person to the Office of Elections, Suite 323, Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax.

To vote in the Nov. 5 election, people must register by Oct. 15. The ballot will include candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, House of Delegates, Fairfax County sheriff, and a school bond issue.

There will still be plenty of opportunities to register to vote the old way—with a paper form. Voter registration drives are taking place at various locations in the Annandale/Mason area over the next few weeks on Thursday mornings at the Annandale farmers market at Mason District Park and on Saturdays in front of George Mason Regional Library and at the Giant stores at Loehmann’s Plaza and the Bradlick Shopping Center.

Fairfax County needs people to work as election officers on Nov. 5. It’s a long day’s work for minimal  payment ($100; $200 for a chief officer), but it’s a great way to contribute to your community and to the democratic process.

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