Preparing for Election Day: Plan for lines and don’t forget your photo I.D.


    By now, voters probably know who they plan to cast a vote for in the midterm elections.

    But there’s more to voting than picking your candidate. Here are some reminders as you head to the polls on what you’ll need and what to do if something doesn’t go as planned.

    Polls open at 6 a.m. They’ll stay open until 7 p.m., unless there’s a court order to extend the hours. As long as you’re in line by 7, you can vote.

    Expect long lines. Virginia election officials are projecting higher than normal turnout, driven in part by some high student absentee ballot applications.

    Know what’s on your ballot to keep the line moving. Election officials said one thing that slows voters down is being confused about what’s on the ballot.

    This year, Virginians are voting for one U.S. senator, House of Representatives candidates and two constitutional amendments, as well in a range of local government races. In some areas, there are special elections, like voters in the 8th House of Delegates district who will pick a replacement for state Del. Greg Habeeb. 

    You can check your sample ballot, and polling place, here.

    And you can find out more about the constitutional amendments here.

    Make sure to have photo I.D. Virginia requires one form of photo identification at the polls. A student I.D., driver’s license, passport, veteran’s photo I.D. or even an employer-issued photo I.D. will work.

    If you don’t have any of those, local registrars can issue a voter photo I.D. card for free, even on Election Day.

    Voters without I.D. can still cast a provisional ballot, but have to bring an accepted form of I.D. to their general registrar by noon on Nov. 9 for the vote to  count.

    You can cast a provisional ballot for other reasons, too. If there are issues confirming your registration — it’s not in a pollbook or it appears you’re registered in a different precinct than where you’re trying to vote — you may cast a provisional ballot. You may ask the polling place officials to call the General Registrar in your locality to check your registration status.

    The local Electoral Board will meet Wednesday to determine which provisional ballots can be counted toward the results. You have the right to attend that meeting.