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A Look at the Voting Changes That Will Be in Place This Year

Voters will be heading to the polls on June 8th in primary elections across Virginia. And, the voting has already started.

Today is Election Day, and so is just about every weekday and several Saturdays heading into the June 8th primary. Since Democrats took control of the General Assembly last year, they've made several important changes to how voting works. Voters no longer need an excuse to cast an early ballot. They can drop off an absentee ballot at a drop box, and they will not need a witness signature for absentee ballots in the June 8th primary.  


Delegate Marcus Simon is chairman of the House committee that oversaw all those changes. 


"In the past, the presumption was you needed to show up on Election Day and vote at your regular polling place unless you had a good reason why you couldn't," explains Simon. "We've kind of reversed that now and said, 'Look, you can vote whenever works for you.'" 


Republicans will be selecting their statewide candidates in a May 8th convention. But Republican voters will have a half dozen House of Delegates primaries on June 8th in Hampton Roads, Southside, the Shenandoah Valley, the Richmond suburbs and in Northern Virginia.


"It's going to be a little bit different to navigate because the Democrats are doing it one way, and the Republicans are doing it another way for their statewide candidates," says Republican consultant Dan Scandling. "But on June 8th, there will be Republicans on the ballot. And that's important for voters across Virginia to understand."


And if you get something wrong on your absentee ballot, no problem. One of the new laws allows election officials to engage in ballot curing; allowing voters to fix problems on their ballot so that votes can count instead of being thrown out. 


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.