Today is the deadline to register to vote in Virginia. WMRA’s Sefe Emokpae caught up with the local registrar in the City of Charlottesville and has more on what you need to know.
ROSANNA BENCOACH: It's important because if you don't register, you can't vote and you can't have a say.
Staff members are working overtime at the Charlottesville Registrar’s Office. With Monday’s registration deadline looming, general registrar for the city, Rosanna Bencoach, says the number of registered voters has been steadily climbing.
BENCOACH: We've been seeing very good numbers. In early October, our number of active registered voters and also our number of total registered voters had both exceeded our numbers as of election day for the last two presidential elections.
There are currently 28,000 active registered voters in the City of Charlottesville. Bencoach says it’s important for voters to update their information at the local registrar’s office to avoid inaccurate data.
BENCOACH: We have almost 7,000 voters on our rolls who we believe have moved from the addresses where they're registered and that's part of the reason why it's so important for people to update their registration every time they move.
With more than 1,500 applicants so far, Bencoach says absentee voting is also moving along.
BENCOACH: We encourage people to vote absentee in person if they need to vote absentee or to take advantage of that if they want to avoid the lines on Election Day. There are 19 reasons in the Virginia application for voting absentee and most people that need to vote absentee will find one that fits.
She says whether you’re voting absentee or not, it’s important to take heed of Virginia’s new voter ID laws.
BENCOACH: Photo ID is required for voters whether you're voting in person at the polls or in person absentee. Most people use their Virginia Driver’s License or their Virginia ID card, their school ID, their employer issued ID. The most important thing is that it's your picture and your name.
Voters who are unsure about whether their ID meets criteria are asked to call the local registrar's office for clarification.
BENCOACH: And if you don't have one, you can go to any voter registrar's office in the state and we can make you a free, photo ID that's good for voting purposes only.
Bencoach had this advice for people who are registered and ready to hit the polls on November 8.
BENCOACH: Come Election Day, you want to know that you are registered, you want to know where you vote and then to plan the time accordingly. The longest lines will be before 9 o’clock and after 5 o’clock. Most polling places have a slow period right after lunch time. That's a great time to go vote if you have that option.
The deadline to register is 5 p.m. Mailed applications will also be accepted if postmarked by today.