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On Sept. 18, the Rappahannock County Registrar of Voters started sending out absentee and mail-in ballots to voters, but since some of the state’s voting rules were changed last minute, the mailings contain outdated information.

First, voters do not need a witness to fill out an absentee ballot, despite what the text says on Envelope B in the absentee ballot.

Second, when voters apply for an absentee ballot they should make sure to use their mailing address if it differs from their home address. The Rappahannock County Voter Registrar said on Tuesday that some ballots are coming back to the office marked “Return to Sender” because voters registered with the wrong address.

With the record number of voters requesting to cast their ballots absentee this year, local election officials simply don’t have time to track down all of the voters who have made that mistake.

Here is a guide to avoiding this and some of the other most common mail-in voting mistakes.

  • If you apply to vote absentee, remember to use your mailing address.

Any election mail sent to a home address that cannot receive mail will be returned to the elections office. If you think you may have applied with the wrong address, contact the registrar at the phone number or email address provided below.

  • Read the instructions thoroughly.

Before you open Envelope A which contains the blank ballot form, make sure to carefully read the instructions sheet. If you are confused, the Rappahannock County Registrar of Voters is available to help. Contact information can be found below.

  • Remember that the witness requirement has been waived.

Due to the pandemic, if you believe you may not safely have a witness present while completing your absentee ballot, you are not required to do so. 

  • Write legibly.

It is very important that the registrar be able to read your printed name and address on Envelope B. 

  • Don’t throw away the return envelope.

The return envelope bears a very important printed postage label that helps the Registrar of Voters identify the ballot as yours! If your handwriting is illegible and the registrar does not have the printed label, your vote may not be counted. Your ballot must be sealed inside Envelope B and Envelope B must be sealed inside the return envelope, which has an unused postage stamp in the upper right corner.

  • If you have already voted by mail-in ballot, you cannot vote again in person.

Once you mail your ballot, you can track it online at tinyurl.com/rappballot. You can also drop off your ballotat the registrar’s office at 262 Gay Street Suite A. If you change your mind and want to vote in person, do so before you mail your absentee ballot. 

If you need help or have questions, call the Rappahannock County Registrar of Voters Office at (540) 675-5380 or send an email to vote@rappahannockcountyva.gov

Voter registration is open until Oct.13, 2020. Find out how to register by visiting https://www.elections.virginia.gov/registration/

Requests for absentee ballots must be submitted by Oct. 23, 2020.


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