Online voter registration open

Published 10:52 pm Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Folks hoping to vote in this year’s hotly contested statewide races and other choices on the ballot should register to vote by Oct. 15 this year, Suffolk registrar Susan Saunders said.

However, registering to vote or updating an existing registration now is easier and more convenient than ever, since both are now permitted online.

“It’s wonderful,” Saunders said. “It’s certainly another process to make it easy to register.”

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The new online system is the result of legislation passed in the 2013 General Assembly session. It was sponsored by Delegate David Ramadan (R-87).

“The launch of online voter registration will enable eligible citizens to apply to register to vote and to update their registration information online, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, regardless of where military service, family or professional obligations may require them to be,” Ramadan said in a press release. “I am proud to have sponsored this legislation to assist Virginians to more conveniently participate in elections.”

The Department of Motor Vehicles will partner in the effort to verify identification and data, according to the release.

“More accurate registration rolls will ultimately lead to fewer problems and lines on Election Day as voters will have updated and accurate records when they arrive at the polling place to vote,” Secretary Don Palmer of the State Board of Elections said in the press release.

Citizens applying to vote must provide their Virginia DMV customer identifier number, located on DMV-issued identification cards and driver’s licenses. Those who do not have such cards can still fill out the application online but then have to print it and return it to their local voter registration office.

People who are already registered but are updating their information can use the voter ID number on their voter registration card, Saunders said.

Once the application has been processed, voters will be notified by mail from their local registrar.

To use the new feature, visit www.sbe.virginia.gov and go to Voter Registration, then Become a Registered Voter, then Register Online.

Saunders said the last day to apply for an absentee ballot by mail is Oct. 29, and the last day to vote absentee in person is Nov. 2. The election will be held Nov. 5.

For more information, call 514-7750.