Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. When Do Elections Take Place?
  2. When Are the Polls Open?
  3. Do I Have To Show Identification at the Polls?
  4. What Do I Do if I've Moved or Changed My Name Since I Last Voted?
  5. Where Do I File a Suggestion or Complaint about Voting in Charlottesville?
  6. I Have Questions About the Voting System in Charlottesville.  Where Do I Go?
  7. How Do I Change My Name but not My Address?
  8. I Committed a Felony Many Years Ago.  Can I Vote?
  9. I’m Not 18 Yet but Want to Work at the Polls on Election Day.  How Can I Do This?




Q: When Do Elections Take Place?

A: General Elections are held in Charlottesville every November on the first Tuesday after the first Monday. If the political parties call for Primary Elections, they are always held on the second Tuesday in June. Presidential Primaries are held on the second Tuesday in March in presidential election years. Special Elections are held as necessary. City Council and School Board Elections are held with the regularly scheduled November election in odd numbered years.

Q: When Are the Polls Open?

A: All polling places are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on election days.

Q: Do I Have to Show Identification at the Polls?

A: Yes, all Virginia voters will be required to show some form of photo identification when they go to the polls to vote. You can use your Virginia driver's license and any photo identification card issued by a federal, state or local government agency; or any employer identification card with a photograph. If you do not possess one of these forms of photo identification, you can visit the Registrar's Office to have a free voter ID card made.

If you forget to bring your photo identification to the polls, don't worry, you'll still be permitted to vote! You can vote an ID-Provisional Ballot. If you bring one of the accepted forms of identification to the Registrar’s office by noon on the Friday after the election, your vote will count provided you are properly registered. Certain first-time voters may be required to show an ID displaying their name and address as required by federal law.

Q: What Do I Do if I've Moved or Changed My Name Since I Last Voted?

A: If you haven't updated your voter registration record since your move or name change, please complete one of the steps below to assure your voter registration record is properly updated. Remember, to be eligible to vote, you must be registered at your current residence address. Registration records are closed for the 28 days preceding any general election.  Your new or updated registration must be submitted before the books close in order to be processed for the general election.

  • Complete a new Virginia Voter Registration Application: If you have been registered in another state and have moved into Virginia, you must complete the Virginia application to register in Virginia. Virginia registrants can also use this application form to update their name or address within Virginia.  http://www/cms/documents/virginiavoterregistrationapplication/pdf
  • Completely fill out the reverse side of your Voter Registration Card with your new name or address information and all other requested information, and return it by mail or in person to the Voter Registration Office:

    Voter Registration Office
    PO BOX 911
    Charlottesville, VA 22902

Please note: Virginia law requires all changes to voter registration records to be authorized by the voter's signature. We cannot update your record without your signature. For that reason, we cannot accept address changes by e-mail.

Q: Where Do I File A Suggestion or Complaint About Voting in Charlottesville?

A: Please file your suggestion or complaint with the Office of Voter Registration or the Charlottesville Electoral Board via email, by phone, or in writing.  We take all such complaints and suggestions very seriously and view the voting public as the most important arbiters of change in the elections process.  If you are not happy with your voting or registration experience, we will do everything we can to work with you to prevent such a situation in the future.

Q: I Have Questions About the Voting System Used in Charlottesville. Where Do I Go?

A: Please see the FAQ page for the voting system in use in Charlottesville.  Click here to check it out.  Also, feel free to call us at (434) 970-3250 with any further questions.

Q: How Do I Change My Name, But Not My Address?

A: You still need to completely fill out a new Virginia Voter Registration Application, or the reverse side of your Voter Registration Card in order for your name change to be processed. 

Q: I committed a felony many years ago.  Can I vote?

A: If you have been convicted of a felony in Virginia you can only vote if you've had your voting rights restored by the Governor.  If you were convicted in another state, your rights may have been restored by other authority.  For more information on the Restoration of Rights process, go to the Secretary of the Commonwealth's website, or call our office at (434) 970-3250.

Q: I’m Not 18 Yet but Want to Work at the Polls on Election Day.  How Can I Do This?

A: In Charlottesville, we have an Election Page program for High School students who want to get first-hand experience in the democratic process.  If you're interested in this opportunity, please talk with your government teacher or call the Office of Voter Registration at (434) 970-3250 for more information.

Registration and Voting Information for College Students
College students may have questions about how to register and where to vote in Virginia. The following information is specific to college students and explains residency requirements for voter registration and special absentee privileges for certain students.

How do I register to vote in Virginia?
A college student registers to vote in Virginia the same as any other applicant: every prospective voter must submit a voter registration application. Remember, you must update your voter registration information whenever you change your residence.

Every voter in Virginia must submit their residential address when registering to vote. (A mailbox cannot serve as a residential address.) If you are unable to receive mail at your address, you must also submit a local mailing address. A dorm or college address can be an acceptable residential address and does not disqualify you from voting.

What is my residence?
A prospective voter must be a resident of the precinct where he seeks to register. In order to establish "residency," a prospective voter must have a physical location where they intend to stay for an unlimited time. The applicant must determine and declare their residence and may change their intent at any time.

How do I vote?
A college student votes in the same manner as any other registered voter: you may vote in person on Election Day or, if eligible, by absentee ballot.

Students who will be absent from the locality where they are registered to vote because they attend school in another locality are eligible to vote by absentee ballot. For example, a student registered to vote in Charlottesville but attending school in Blacksburg may request an absentee ballot from Charlottesville. However, a student registered to vote in Blacksburg and attending school in Blacksburg could not vote by absentee ballot, unless otherwise eligible. Absentee votes may be cast in person in the locality where the student is registered or by mail. To request a ballot by mail, an absentee ballot application must be received by the General Registrar no later than 5:00 p.m. on the seventh day prior to the election. In-person absentee voting continues through the Saturday preceding Election Day.

Students registered in another state may wish to visit the U. S. Election Assistance Commission’s website,, for election information specific to their state, district or territory.

Impact on Other Areas
Legal residence for voter registration purposes may or may not be the same as legal residence for census, driver’s license, federal and state income tax, state vehicle tax, tuition, or financial aid purposes. The State Board of Elections and local election officials are not trained in these complex areas. You should consult appropriate advisors regarding these issues.


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