Voting: What You Need to Know For Election Day

Early voting for the 2020 general election.

Election Day is almost here on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Here are few things to know.

Return Mail Ballots

Return your mail-in ballot at a ballot drop-off box. Ballot drop-off boxes will be offered at every polling place on Election Day, Nov. 3. There is also a secure, 24-hour box outside the Fairfax County Government Center that will be available until 7 p.m. on Election Day.

If you are mailing back your ballot, it must be postmarked by Nov. 3, but it may be received by the Office of Elections as late as noon on Friday, Nov. 6.

When using a drop-off box, help us process your ballot faster. Please put your completed “B” envelope inside your return mailing envelope—even though you’re not mailing it back. Be sure to follow these instructions on filling out your “B” envelope.

Note that if you put your ballot in a drop-off box, Ballot Scout will not indicate if it has been received. You should use the state portal instead which is the most reliable method to track your ballot.

A Fairfax County ballot drop-off box.
Vote on Election Day, Nov. 3

Every polling place will be open on Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Before you vote, double check your registration status and your polling place.

You must bring an acceptable form of identification when you come to vote. Photo IDs are no longer required, although they remain a valid form of identification.

Guns Are Banned in Polling Places

By county ordinance, guns are banned at every polling place—whether it is a county-owned building, school or privately owned building. This applies to both early voting sites and every precinct on Election Day.

Guns are banned in all Fairfax County polling places.
Poll Watchers Must Be Authorized

Authorized poll watchers are allowed by Virginia law. However, they must present a written authorization form signed by a county, district or state party chair or candidate, and they must be a registered voter in Virginia. Only properly authorized poll watchers will be allowed inside the polls, and they may not:

  • Campaign inside the polling place.
  • Wear political clothing, buttons, signs or in any way display preference to any party or candidate.
  • Loiter or congregate, give, offer or show any ballot, ticket or other campaign material to any person; stop or delay a qualified voter; or interfere with the orderly conduct of the election.
  • Assist voters in casting their ballot.
Call the Police for Disruptions to Voting

If you spot any individuals or groups that are hindering or disrupting voting, immediately call the Fairfax County Police Department’s non-emergency number, at 703-691-2131, TTY 711, or 9-1-1.

The police will investigate and respond as they deem appropriate.

Virginia law prohibits anyone from:

  • Loitering, congregating or campaigning within 40 feet of the entrance to a polling place.
  • Using a loudspeaker within 300 feet of a polling place.
  • Falsely assuming or exercising the functions, powers and duties of any city, county, state or federal law-enforcement officer.
Wear a Face Covering and Socially Distance

If you are planning to vote early or on Election Day, wear a cloth face covering. Science continues to support wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. By wearing a face covering, you are helping to protect other voters — and the thousands of poll workers who have volunteered to make sure you can vote. Markers are placed on the ground inside and immediately outside polling places to help voters stand six feet apart. Please remember to stay socially distanced while you wait to vote. Voters should wash their hands before and after voting and bring hand sanitizer with them to the polls.

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