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Call to Action: Vote Early In Person!

Arlington Democrats urge Biden-Harris supporters who are not at high risk of contracting COVID-19 to vote early in person, starting NOW. This is the best way to minimize exposure to COVID-19 while ensuring that your vote is counted on election night rather than a few days later. More votes counted on election night will lead to a quicker determination of the final result--giving Trump less time to cast doubt on those results or undermine confidence in appropriately cast ballots.

Ballots mailed in close to Nov. 3 may not be received by the registrar until after November 3, meaning that they may not be counted until after Election Day. Trump has made it clear that if he appears to be ahead, or even close, on election night, he may attempt to stay in office by trying to discredit mail-in ballots. Biden-Harris supporters can thwart this strategy by voting in person, either early when there are fewer crowds and thus less Covid-19 risk, or in person on Election Day.

Early in-person voting is already underway in Arlington. The registrar has implemented protocols to promote social distancing and comply with public health standards, making it a simple and safe process. You can minimize your risk by voting now, thereby avoiding crowds on Election Day while still ensuring that your vote is counted on election night.

Where and when:

The Office of Elections is open for early voting now at its new, street-level office at 2200 Clarendon Blvd. This office is located on Courthouse Plaza in the space formerly occupied by a Wells Fargo Bank office, next to a Starbucks. It’s at the other end of the block from the Elections Office’s long-time main office on the third floor of the Bozman Government Center, at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. near Courthouse Plaza.

Beginning on Oct. 17, the Office of Elections will open four satellite early-voting locations.

Aurora Hills Community Center, 735 18th Street South Langston – Brown Community Center, 2121 North Culpeper Street Madison Community Center, 3829 North Stafford Street Walter Reed Community Center, 2909 16th Street South

Note that the last day for voting early is Saturday, Oct. 31. There is no early voting on Monday, Nov. 2, the day before Election Day.

What you’ll need:

  1. Identification: a driver’s license, a passport, or other accepted form of I.D. There is no longer a requirement that the I.D. include a photo, but it must be of an approved type.

  2. If you requested and received a mail-in absentee ballot, take it with you to the polls. The polling official will permit you to vote in person using the mail-in ballot.

  3. If you requested a mail-in absentee ballot but have not received it, have lost it, or simply don’t have it with you, the polling official will ask you to swear that if you do get the mail-in ballot, you will destroy it. Then the official will give you a ballot and permit you to vote.

  4. You do not need to notify the Office of Elections in advance that you plan to vote early. You won’t be asked to give an excuse for voting early. You may just show up at the polling place.

If you have received a mail-in ballot and want to use it to vote, but you also want to avoid postal delays, complete the mail-in ballot now, and return it immediately -- in person -- to the Office of Elections at 2200 Clarendon Blvd. Or, deposit your completed ballot at one of the nine ballot drop boxes that are now available around Arlington 24 hours a day: their locations are listed here. Beginning on Oct. 17, you may also return a completed mail-in ballot to one of the four early-voting satellite locations listed above. If you are only dropping off your ballot, you will not need to stand in line at the polling place.

Follow carefully all of the instructions about completing the mail-in ballot; they are included with the ballot. You do not need a witness, even though there is space on the interior envelope for a witness’s signature. Do take care that, as instructed, you insert your completed ballot into the interior envelope provided by the Department of Elections. Then seal the interior envelope and put it into the main return envelope, also provided by the Department of Elections. Do not give the return envelope to someone else to mail or drop off; you must do this yourself.

If you have received, completed, and returned an absentee mail-in ballot, your job is already done. Thank you! Your ballot, having been received early by the Office of Elections, will likely be tallied on election night. It’s ballots sent in later that may be counted some time after election night.

More questions? Go to arldemsold.local/vote for answers.

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