Saturday, November 26, 2022

The deadline to register for Dem presidential primary is Monday. Here’s what you need to know

The deadline to register to vote in Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary is fast approaching but there are still residents in the local area that haven’t done so yet.

The Republican Party voted to cancel its primary, according to ballotpedia.org.

“It’s really not hard to do,” said Walt Latham, York County’s voter registrar. “If people want to be able to vote, they have to get registered. I would suggest people even check their registration beforehand to make sure everything is good.”

In York County there are 45,929 citizens registered to vote as of Feb. 1, according to data from the Registrar’s Office.

Latham said in the days leading up to the deadline, there is always an influx of people registering but this becomes even more true when it involves a presidential election. 

RELATED STORY: The work doesn’t stop at the Registrar’s Office after elections are done. It keeps going, fully staffed or not

“A lot of people see this as the election that really matters, which I don’t agree with,” he said. “So this is a big year for jumps and increases [in registration].”

Virginia doesn’t currently allow for same-day registration, which means if people don’t register by the deadline then they won’t be allowed to vote. Latham said this is most likely because same-day registration can cause issues when counting votes on election day. He added it can become confusing to figure out if the voters are actually qualified or if they’ve registered in the correct district. 

Voters can register at a number of locations, including online now. Latham said since online registration has become an option in recent years, most citizens are choosing to register that way.

Registration applications can also be found in York County at the Registrar’s Office, the Yorktown and Tabb libraries and the Griffin-Yeates Center.

Latham said the county is always encouraging residents to not only register but cast their ballot. One of the setbacks, though, is that many people don’t realize they don’t have to register based on their political party. He said the Registrar’s Office will record if a person voted in a primary but it won’t track the person’s party based on their participation in the primary.

As the Registrar’s Office prepares for the Democratic presidential primary, Latham said employees are preparing the polling locations, training election officials and making sure the technology is secure.

RELATED STORY: With election day around the corner, how do localities ensure voting machine security?

Citizens’ information is secured in the voter registration system which is maintained by the state. 

For those still needing to register before the deadline, registration can be done on the Virginia Department of Elections website.

When it’s time to cast a ballot, voters also have the option of absentee voting. This means a person will either not be in their district on March 3 or are unable to visit a polling place because of illness or disability.  

Voters must file for absentee voting either online by 5 p.m. on Feb. 25 or in person by 5 p.m. on Feb. 29.

For those who want to vote absentee in person, the Registrar’s Office will also be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 29.

Voters older than 65 or who have a physical disability can request a ballot from an election officer outside their polling location but must remain within 150 feet of the entrance. Voters who meet these qualifications and want to vote outside their polling location can alert an official at the polling place by calling the Registrar’s Office at 757-890-3440.

Following the primary, unofficial election results will be available on the Virginia Department of Elections website.

For more information, visit York County online.

A representative from the Registrar’s Office in James City County was not immediately available for comment.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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