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Witness signature required on mail ballots

The Virginia Department of Elections wants to remind voters that witness signatures are required on all mail-in ballots being cast in the 2021 General Election.

The longstanding requirement was waived last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, election officials say the requirement is in effect this year. Some groups have asked Gov. Ralph Northam to waive the requirement again; however, he has not yet done so.

If a general registrar finds after examining a returned ballot envelope that the witness signature is missing, the voter will be notified within three days after receipt in the registrar’s office that the ballot requires modification. The voter will have until noon on the third day after the election (Nov. 5) to correct their ballot in order for it to be counted.

The Virginia Department of Elections encourages voters to return their mail-in ballot at their earliest convenience. A voter may return their ballot by delivering it to:

The USPS or a commercial delivery service (such as FedEx or UPS). All ballots include pre-paid postage through the USPS;

A drop-off location listed on their county or city’s official website;

The Office of the General Registrar in their county or city; or,

Any polling place within their county or city on Election Day.

Completed mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received by local registrars by noon on Friday, Nov. 5. If a ballot is personally delivered, it must be returned to the general registrar’s office or drop-off location by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Voters who have requested a mail-in ballot can track their ballot at v2.ballotscout.org/virginia/search/state. If a voter is concerned that they do not have enough time to return their ballot by mail, the Virginia Department of Elections encourages voters to personally deliver their ballot to their local general registrar’s office, a ballot drop-off location, or vote in-person.