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Fairfax County to launch early voting for Congressional midterms on Friday

A Fairfax County Office of Elections ballot drop box from 2021 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 9:10 p.m.) In Fairfax County, the battle for control of Congress starts tomorrow (Friday).

The county will open three early voting sites and start mailing out absentee ballots for the Nov. 8 general election, which will decide three seats in the House of Representatives as well as the Town of Herndon’s leadership.

Turnout is tough to predict, but early voting and voting by mail “seem to be growing in popularity” after Virginia made both options available to all in 2020, Fairfax County Office of Elections spokesperson Brian Worthy says.

Nearly 70% of registered voters participated in the last midterm elections in 2018, but no individual House race saw a turnout over 37%, according to Worthy. Last November’s election, which anointed Glenn Youngkin as Virginia’s governor, drew a 60.2% turnout.

“Because the Office of Elections always prepare for high turnout, they will be ready to manage turnout greater than the recent gubernatorial election,” Worthy said.

He says the county has filled all of the 2,300 election officer positions needed for Nov. 8, but there is always a demand for bilingual poll workers, especially people who speak both Korean and English.

What’s New This Year

Voters may see different candidates than they anticipate on their ballot, thanks to last year’s redistricting process, which altered federal and state electoral boundaries in Virginia.

Polling sites will stay the same for 96% of voters in the county, but everyone should double check their district through the Virginia Department of Elections before voting in person, Worthy says. There have also been a few precinct changes unrelated to redistricting.

To limit confusion, the county elections office sent every voter a mailer with information about their legislative districts and polling place earlier this year.

“The office will be mailing voters a sample ballot with this same information, and the state is also sending a redistricting mailing to voters,” Worthy said.

In addition, Virginia will now let new voters register and cast a ballot up to and on Election Day. The General Assembly approved the change in 2020, but the law won’t take effect until Oct. 1.

While the new flexibility will be welcome for anyone who misses the Oct. 17 deadline, election officials don’t recommend waiting until the last minute to register. Voters who register Oct. 18 or later will get provisional ballots to allow “additional time to verify” their paperwork, according to WTOP.

Provisional ballots aren’t reviewed until after Election Day, and the state electoral board determines whether each of them can be counted.

“Because same day registration is a new law, the Office of Elections is uncertain of the impact, but they are prepared to manage a large number of same day registrants at early voting sites and polling places on Election Day, as well as to process these registrations,” Worthy said.

How to Vote

Starting tomorrow, in-person voting will be available on weekdays at the Fairfax County, Mount Vernon and North County government centers:

  • Fairfax County Government Center: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Mount Vernon Governmental Center: 1-7 p.m.
  • North County Governmental Center: 1-7 p.m.

These sites will also operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on three Saturdays (Sept. 24, Oct. 29, and Nov. 5) and from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30.

An additional 13 early voting sites will open on Oct. 27 with the following hours of operation:

  • Weekdays: 1-7 p.m.
  • Two Saturdays (Oct. 29, Nov. 5): 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • One Sunday (Oct. 30): 1-5 p.m.

While Virginia no longer requires photo identification, voters must still present a driver’s license, utility bill, or another government document with their name and address.

Mail ballots must be requested by 5 p.m. on Oct. 28 and returned in person or postmarked by Nov. 8. Drop-off boxes will be available at all early voting sites, with a 24-hour box outside the Fairfax County Government Center.

The Candidates

8th Congressional District

10th Congressional District

11th Congressional District

Herndon residents also have mayoral and town council races to decide. Sample ballots can be found on the county office of elections website.

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