Hurry up and register

Published 10:27 pm Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Voter registration has skyrocketed in Suffolk in the last three weeks, said officials at the Suffolk Electoral Board.

“It’s been extremely heavy,” said Jean Copeland, secretary to the board. “I’ve never seen this much interest.”

On Wednesday, 52,512 voters were registered in Suffolk. That’s more than 700 more than the Sept. 10 total of 51,800 – an enormous increase in three weeks, Copeland said.

Email newsletter signup

As she talked, a steady stream of people came in the doors of the West Washington Street office to register. Copeland, a former high school teacher, said she believes this election has sparked more interest among young voters.

“I was always telling the students when I taught that the U.S. had one of the lowest voter turnouts,” she said. “If democracy is going to work, you have to participate.”

Statewide, about 4.79 million voters were registered as of Aug. 31.

The deadline for new voter registration is Monday, Oct. 6. That also is the deadline for making any changes to an existing registration, such as a change in name or address.

People who will be voting by absentee ballot are encouraged to send in their applications as soon as possible, and then send in their voted ballots as soon as they can. Registered voters who will not be able to go to the polls on Election Day may still vote if they are away from Suffolk for work, personal business, or vacation, if they are in the military, attending a school, have a disability, confined awaiting trial or having been convicted of a misdemeanor, caring for an ill or disabled family member, working or commuting to and from work for 11 or more hours during the 13 hours the polls are open, or several other reasons. You may obtain an absentee ballot application by visiting

If you want to check to see if you are registered, visit and click on the red check mark to the left of the screen. If you are registered, you will be able to check your status, registered address, locality, and precinct.

For more information about voting, visit the above Web site or call 514-7754. You may also visit the Suffolk voter registration office at 425 W. Washington St. Mail absentee ballot applications to 425 W. Washington St., Suite 4, Suffolk, VA 23434.