Primary Election Information

Election season is in full swing as Democrat and Republican candidates vie for the place as their party’s nominee for President of the United States.

While some states such as Iowa and Nevada will be holding caucuses to choose their delegates for the presidential nominating conventions, Virginia will be holding a primary. A primary election is a direct, statewide voting process in which voters cast secret ballots for the candidates of their choice.

Virginia is an open primary state, meaning any voter can vote in any party’s primary election, despite their political affiliation. This year, however, the Virginia Republican Party will require voters to sign a “statement of intent” which reads: “My signature below indicates that I am a Republican.” This decision has caused great controversy as opponents of the pledge argue that it will turn away voters who do not favor party politics.

The Virginia primary election will be held on March 1, 2016. This significant date is known as “Super Tuesday,” the day in which the greatest number of states and territories hold their primary elections. This year, the states and territories participating include: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, American Samoa, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming. Virginia, with thirteen delegates, will be a very critical and influential state on “Super Tuesday.”

In Virginia, voters must register to vote 22 days before a primary or general election. The voter registration deadline for the March 1 presidential primary is Friday, Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. in person or 11:59 p.m. online. Virginia residents may register to vote online, by printing out and mailing an application form online or register in person at a variety of locations including: the Department of Motor Vehicles offices, Virginia Department of Elections offices, voter registration drives, some public libraries, and armed forces recruitment offices.

If voting in person for the March 1 primary, a valid photo ID is required. Valid forms of ID include:

  • valid Virginia driver’s license
  • Virginia issued Veteran’s ID card
  • United States passport
  • valid student ID with a photo from a Virginia college or university

Those registered voters unable to vote in person on Election Day can vote absentee at their local registrar’s office or by mail.

The deadline for voting in-person absentee is 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. The deadline for absentee voting by mail is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016.

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