Get ready to vote

Published 8:58 pm Saturday, September 29, 2012

Election Day is fast approaching, and important decisions abound on the ballot from top to bottom.

Make sure you’re prepared for Election Day ahead of time. The first step is to be registered. The deadline to register for this year’s Nov. 6 elections is Oct. 15. You can check to make sure you’re registered by calling the voter registrar at 514-7750 or visiting the State Board of Elections at

The next step is to double-check where you vote. For many people in Suffolk, it has changed since the last election because of the redistricting process.

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Voters recently received or will soon receive new voter cards in the mail as the result of an order from Gov. Bob McDonnell to ensure all voters have proper identification. The new voter cards should have the most up-to-date information on your polling place. If you’re still unsure, you can find out where to vote by calling the voter registrar at the number above or visiting the State Board of Elections at the website above.

Voter identification laws have also changed since the last election, making it easier to provide acceptable identification. If you have your new voter card or valid driver’s license, those are acceptable IDs. Others include a Social Security card, employee ID card, student ID card from a four-year Virginia college, or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck showing your name and address.

If you know ahead of time that you will be unable to make it to the polls on Election Day, you can vote absentee. In-person absentee voting has already begun and will end Nov. 3. To vote absentee in person, go to the voter registrar’s office, 440 Market St., during business hours Monday through Friday.

To vote absentee by mail, download an application at You must submit it to the voter registrar’s office to have a ballot mailed to you before Oct. 30.

Lastly, you should be informed about the candidates on your ballot. The Suffolk News-Herald will be running stories in October introducing you to all the candidates for mayor, City Council and School Board. In addition, a number of forums are planned to introduce local candidates.

The Suffolk News-Herald will host a forum on Oct. 16 at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts for mayoral candidates. Other forums planned by the following organizations are:

  • Chamber of Commerce, Oct. 11, 5:30 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center
  • Education Association of Suffolk, Oct. 18, 7 p.m., King’s Fork High School Black Box Theater
  • NAACP, Oct. 20, 10 a.m., East Suffolk Recreation Center, breakfast with a $20 donation
  • Hampton Roads Tea Party, Oct. 25, 7 p.m., Nansemond River High School auditorium