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The State Board of Elections (SBE) was created in 1946 as a bipartisan agency responsible for ensuring uniformity, fairness, accuracy and purity in all elections in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The agency promotes the proper administration of election laws, campaign finance disclosure compliance, and voter registration processes in Virginia by promulgating rules, regulations, issuing instructions, and providing information to local electoral boards and general registrars. In addition, the agency maintains a centralized database of state-wide voter registration and election related data.
Active duty military (and their spouse or dependents residing with them) and overseas voters are permitted to receive the ballot via email upon request. For more information, view our Guidelines for Voters that Request E-mail Ballots (.pdf) or contact your local elections office.
If you are a legal Virginia resident, but are not yet registered to vote, or need to change your voter registration, you may use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)to register to vote and apply for your absentee ballot at the same time. After you complete the FPCA, sign it and then you may either mail it to your local voter registration office, fax it to the local voter registration office, or scan it and send it by e-mail as an attachment. Please be sure to complete this application (FPCA) before you complete any other forms or applications relating to voter registration and/or absentee voting. You may also register and request absentee ballots using the Virginia voter registration application and absentee ballot application linked on this page. However, using the FPCA is recommended for the convenience of a single form allowing electronic submission of registration by fax or scanned email attachment. Applicants with a Virginia DMV driver's license or identification card may also be able to register online through the SBE website.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website provides a Virginia Voting Assistance Guide (.pdf) explaining how to complete your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). This guide provides dates for federal elections only. By submitting a complete Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in Virginia, you will be sent ballots for all elections in which you are eligible to vote through the end of the next calendar year. Federal forms and envelopes are available here: http://www.fvap.gov/eo/overview/materials/forms.
Please note that any Virginia voter may visit the State Board of Elections (SBE) voter registration website to review his or her voter registration status, the status of his or her absentee ballot application, information on their elected representatives, and contact information for local elections office at any time.
Election Notice - Absentee Military and Overseas Citizens (UOCAVA) Eligible to Vote in 2014 State and Local Elections
This Election Notice enables you to identify all of the federal, state, local offices and, if applicable, ballot measures your locality expects, as of this date, to be on the ballot. See our "What is on my Ballot?" for more information.
An Election Notice will be prepared not later than 100 days before a regularly scheduled election that permits absentee voting, and as soon as practicable in the case of a not regularly scheduled Special Election. As soon as ballot styles are approved, the Virginia State Board of Elections will update its website with the certified candidates for each office and ballot measures that will be on the ballot. For most elections, ballots will be sent at least 45 days before the election to voters that have requested them. You may request an updated Election Notice be sent to you.
If you are an absent military or overseas citizen eligible to vote in state and local elections, you may register to vote and request a regular absentee ballot for upcoming elections by using the federal postcard application (FPCA), available at WWW.FVAP.GOV You can electronically apply for ballots by submitting your FPCA by fax or scanned email attachment to to the general registrar of the Virginia city or county of residence for voting purposes. Detailed instructions and contact information are provided in the Virginia Voting Assistance Guide, available at http://www.fvap.gov/resources/media/vagVA.pdf If you have a Virginia DMV issued driver license or identification card, you can also register to vote or renew your voter registration online using the State Board of Elections voter registration portal. Please note if you use the portal you must also submit separately a new FPCA to receive ballots for future elections through the end of the next calendar year; you can also submit a Virginia absentee ballot application for a specific election once scheduled.
If you do not receive your state ballot in time, you may vote using a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), available at WWW.FVAP.GOV. This notice enables you to identify all of the federal, state, local offices and, if applicable, ballot measures this city/county expects, as of this date, to be on the ballot. For more information go to our Ballot Information page.
Using a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot:
This notice may be used to vote a federal write-in absentee ballot (FWAB). Before using a FWAB, you must first request a regular absentee ballot by using the federal postcard application (FPCA), available at WWW.FVAP.GOV. You can electronically apply for ballots by submitting your FPCA by fax to or scanned email attachment to your local Voter Registration Office Detailed instructions are provided in the Virginia Voting Assistance Guide, available at http://www.fvap.gov/vao/guide.html.
Covered military and overseas voters who have not timely received a regular absentee ballot may use the FWAB to register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and vote an official military-overseas ballot. You're signed and completed FWAB must be received no later than the close of polls on Election Day. If received later than this day and time, your FWAB ballot normally will not be counted. Federal write-in absentee ballots are available at WWW.FVAP.GOV. A FWAB ballot or a regular ballot can only be returned by mail addressed to the voting official for your city or county of voting residence. Virginia does not allow return of any voted ballot electronically, by email or fax.
Marking a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot:
When marking a FWAB, for each office for which you wish to vote, write in either a candidate's name or political party designation. For ballot measures or referenda, write either "YES" you are for the ballot measure or referendum) or "NO" (you are against the ballot measure or referendum). If you indicated you wish to participate in a party primary, you may only vote for the candidates of the party you indicated. Please contact your local election official to confirm your absentee or voter registration status. To check your Voter Registration and Absentee Voting status please go to our "View/Change My Information" page.
Deadlines Applicable to Virginia Voters
- Applicants not currently registered in Virginia but eligible under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) may submit his or her Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) by mail, e-mail attachment or fax. Overseas citizens' completed FPCAs must be received by the local election office before the close of business on the final day of registration for the election, generally 22 days before most elections. Non-military overseas voters who no longer have a Virginia place of abode, will receive ballots for federal offices only, unless overseas employment information is provided(a spouse or dependent residing with the overseas employee would provide that employment information). Military voters and family members residing with them are eligible for late registration, but must comply with the deadline for requesting ballots, normally seven days before the election with limited exceptions for emergencies. See Va. Code 24.2-419, 24.2-420.1, 24.2-705 and 24.2-705.1.
- Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) for applicants eligible under UOCAVA who are already permanently registered in Virginia, or who are active-duty military eligible for late registration, must be received by the local election office before 5:00 PM seven days before the election (unless there is a qualifying emergency). FPCAs can be submitted by mail, e-mail attachment or fax.
- In-person absentee voters have until the Saturday immediately before the election to vote an absentee ballot in-person at your local election office. Qualifying emergencies (e.g., hospitalization) allow voting absentee through 2:00 PM the day before the election.
NOTE: In Virginia, active-duty military voters and his or her spouse or dependents residing with them may register to vote by mail until Election Day, but are still subject to the absentee application deadlines. Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) for a military applicant who intends to register to vote and request an absentee ballot, must be received seven days before the election due to the absentee ballot application deadline (unless there is a qualifying emergency).
Important Notice to Virginia Users of the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB)
You may use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) to register and vote absentee in all elections in which you are eligible to vote, subject to applicable deadlines. Please note that if you have applied by by Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) and both your state absentee ballot and completed FWAB are received on time, only your state ballot will be counted. You may use the FWAB to vote anytime before the deadline for returning your ballot, however, the FWAB is an emergency backup ballot used if you have concerns that the ballot requested on the FPCA may not arrive on time to be counted.
Citizens residing overseas indefinitely ("do not intend to return") may only be eligible to vote for federal offices (President, Vice President, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives) unless overseas employment information is provided on the FPCA and any FWAB you submit. Please contact us or your local general registrar's office if you have any question about the offices for which you are eligible to vote in Virginia. It is a felony in Virginia to knowingly vote when you are not eligible to do so.
Once you are finished voting, the package you return will consist of:
- Your voted ballot which will be inside of
- A blank, sealed security envelope (which you supply) containing only your voted ballot and nothing else.
- The form titled "Voter's Declaration/Affirmation" which has been completed, signed and dated by you and a witness.
- A return mailing envelope (which you supply) addressed to Secretary of the Electoral Board, Attention Absentee Voting Officer, [LOCALITY ADDRESS]. Please include your current mailing address in the return address area in the upper left corner. The mailing envelope should contain both your sealed ballot security envelope and your completed Voter's Declaration/Affirmation signed by you and a witness. For your own privacy, please remember not to place anything other than your voted ballot in the security envelope.
You can check the status of your absentee ballot through our website. Detailed Virginia instructions for using the FWAB are available in FVAP's Virginia Voting Assistance Guide (.pdf).
Step-by-Step Instructions for Using the FWAB
Please be sure to complete the Voter Affirmation/Declaration page of your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) and include a witness signature. In the presence of your witness, you will mark the ballot by writing in the names of your chosen candidates and choices on ballots issues (e.g., constitutional amendments). Both you and the witness must sign and date the Voter Affirmation/Declaration page. Please remember this can be done only after you have completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Your FWAB form includes an affirmation under felony penalty of perjury that you submitted a FPCA.
- FVAP offers a postage paid return envelope template (.pdf) that the voter addresses to the appropriate election official to receive your ballot. (Certain restrictions apply to postage rates. See Step 10.) FVAP also offers a security envelope template (.pdf) that the voter uses to seal the marked ballot for return. (See step 4.)
- Any adult 18 or older is permitted to act as your witness.
- Mark your ballot in the presence of your witness (but not in a way that the witness can see your vote). Carefully follow the instructions on the ballot to make sure that your vote will count.
- Once you've finished voting, fold your ballot in thirds (so that it will fit in a standard size envelope).
- Place your voted ballot into the blank, sealable security envelope that you provide. You may, but are not required to, use the FVAP security envelope template.
- In the presence of your witness, complete, sign and date the "Voter's Declaration/Affirmation." PLEASE PRINT YOUR NAME next to your signature.
- Have your witness sign the "Voter's Declaration/Affirmation" at the space provided for the witness.
- Put the "Voter's Declaration/Affirmation" in the return mailing envelope outside of the sealed security envelope. Please do not include anything other than your ballot in the sealed security envelope. The "Voter's Declaration/Affirmation" must be completed, dated and signed (by both you and your witness).
- Seal and address the mailing envelope using the address provided to you. Please be sure to write your name and return address in the upper left hand corner of the envelope so that we can identify your ballot as belonging to you. Address your mailing envelope to: Secretary of the Electoral Board, Attention Absentee Voting Officer, [LOCALITY ADDRESS].
- Return your ballot using U.S. Postal Service mail or a commercial delivery service (such as UPS or Federal Express). You may, but are not required, to use the FVAP return envelope template to create an envelope that can be mailed free of postage only when deposited at a U.S. Post Office, an overseas U.S. military Post Office, or an American Embassy or American Consulate using either the U.S. Postal Service or FPO/APO mail system. Otherwise, you will have to pay the proper amount of postage. If used, the return envelope template must be printed (not stapled, taped or glued) onto your mailing envelope. Please verify acceptance of your mail with proper postage or prepayment marking to avoid delays that could prevent timely receipt of your voted ballot.
Important - Virginia Law Requires That:
- You fill out the "Voter's Declaration/Affirmation", sign and date it, and have your signature witnessed. If you have not filled out the "Voter's Declaration/Affirmation" completely, or if you have forgotten to sign or date it or you have no witness, your vote may not count.
- To receive future ballots, you must also complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) . You can complete and submit a FPCA along with a Federal Write-In Application (FWAB).
- The "Voter's Declaration/Affirmation" should be OUTSIDE of the sealed Security Envelope containing your ballot. If the "Voter's Declaration/Affirmation" cannot be found, your vote may not count.
- Your voted ballot must be received by the close of polls on Election Day. If you requested, and we failed to send you a state ballot on time, you may be eligible for extended time. Please return your voted ballot as soon as possible.