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The 2022 election will have many, new firsts in Virginia


Election officials are gearing up for Election Day with some new rules.

In many ways, this election will be an election of firsts. It'll be the first time Virginia has same-day voter registration. And it'll be the first time that early votes will be recorded in the precinct where the voters live instead of a jurisdiction-wide at-large precinct.

Republican state Senator David Suetterlein introduced the bill to improve election returns, noting that on election night summaries of mail-in votes and in-person early votes are expected to be posted really early, perhaps even before Election Day votes start rolling in.

"And that's something that we'll get to see on election night, and should assuage some folks' concerns about what they think they're seeing and what is actually happening," he says.

Also, anyone who is not a registered voter can actually sign up to cast ballots and vote all the way until polls close on Tuesday. Delegate Marcus Simon is a Democrat from Fairfax County who says the system has plenty of safeguards to prevent mischief.

"If the same name showed up with the same birth date and five different addresses, that would get caught and get flagged," explains Simon. "All those ballots would be thrown out and the person who applied to vote would have to answer to a local prosecutor for their attempted voter fraud."

If all goes as planned, Virginia will have election returns pretty early. That means people will be looking to Virginia as a bell-weather for what might happen in races across the country.

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.