Democracy is not a spectator sport!
Requirements for Voter Registration in Virginia
To be eligible to register to vote in Virginia, a person must meet all of the following criteria:
- Be a U.S. Citizen.
- Be 18 years old. Any person who is 17 years old and will be 18 years of age by the next General Election will be permitted to register in advance.
- Be a resident of Virginia. A person who has come to Virginia for temporary purposes and intends to return to another state or locality is not considered a resident for voting purposes.
- Is not claiming residence or the right to vote in any other state.
- Is not currently declared incapacitated by a court of law.
- If convicted of a felony, voting rights have been restored.
Your voter registration application contains very personal information that can be used by "identity thieves."
Protect your identity:
DO NOT give your application to anyone or any organization that you do not know and trust. If you are not sure, mail it yourself.
A stamp is cheap... identity theft is not.
Are college students considered residents of the community where they attend college?
Not automatically. According to the residency information provided by Virginia State Board of Elections, in order to establish "residency," a prospective voter must have a physical location where they intend to stay for an unlimited time.
Although a student may register using their dormitory room as their legal residence address, a student who has come to Norfolk to attend college and intends to return to another locality or state is not considered a resident for voting purposes.
What if you want to change your residence?
Establishing residency is a multi-step process that may include voter registration. Although legal residence may be changed, an individual may have only one legal residence at a time.
Where can you get help with determining residence?
The Virginia State Board of Elections provides a self-guided questionnaire. The questionnaire contains questions intended to assist in determining legal residence.
- Visit the State Board of Elections
- Click on: Voter Information
- Registering to Vote
- College Student
- What is my residence? Questionnaire
If Norfolk or Virginia is not your home, how can you register to vote?
Use the link "Contact Your Home State for Information" to access state specific information from all 50 states OR... register to vote on the National Voter Registration Application which is accepted by all states. Send your completed application to the locality of residence.
How can you vote if you're away at college?
Each state has a process for voting by absentee ballot for those who are absent on Election Day. Use the link "Contact Your Home State for Information" to access state specific information and absentee applications for your home state. The absentee process is quick and easy. Being away at college is likely a qualifying reason to vote absentee in your state.
Isn't the absentee ballot process available to all students?
NO. Under Virginia law, students who are registered to vote in Norfolk may not qualify for the student exemption that allows an absentee ballot to be cast inperson or by-mail before Election Day. That exemption only applies to students attending college outside of the locality where they are registered. If you are registered to vote from your ODU campus address, you will be assigned to one of two off-campus voting precincts where you will vote in person on Election Day.
If you choose to use your ODU living quarters/dorm as your legal residence address, what should you know before registering?
- Voting precinct and districts are determined by your physical location on campus.
- In order to assign you to the correct voting districts and precinct, you must provide the exact location on campus where you reside.
- A registration application can only be processed if all requested information is provided and all questions are answered.
- Information must be updated when you move.
What address information is needed for registration?
On the Virginia Voter Registration Application, Residence (Permanent) Home Address line, list your dorm/living quarters:
Street Number - Street Name - Room/Apt #
How will you know that your application for registration has been accepted?
A "Virginia Voter Registration Card" will be mailed to you within 30 days. The card will contain information about your assigned voting districts and polling location. This card can be used to meet the new Virginia ID requirement when you vote on Election Day.
NOTE: Once your Virginia registration is confirmed, cancel any previous registration. Still have questions? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 757-664-4353.
Is voting a right or a responsibility?
Voting is a right; however, there are certain responsibilities that come with that right. One of those responsibilities is to ensure that you are correctly registered in the state and locality where you claim residence. For college students, determining the place of legal residency is often confusing. Although our legal residence is usually the place we call home, establishing or changing residence should be an informed choice that is given careful consideration.