Election Day for the 2020 general election is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Voters will cast ballots for U.S. President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and for or against two proposed amendments to the Constitution of Virginia.
As in previous elections, the county’s 20 polling places will be open on Election Day from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Registered voters wishing to cast a ballot on Election Day must bring an acceptable form of identification with them to their polling station.
This election will be the first election in Virginia in which eligible voters may cast an absentee ballot for any reason. Absentee balloting begins Friday, Sept. 18, and lasts through Saturday, Oct. 31. Absentee ballots may be cast either in person or by mail. Absentee ballots are not automatically mailed to each registered voter and must be requested.
Casting more than one ballot during any one election is both a state and federal felony.
Eligible citizens may register to vote, check their registration status, find their polling place, apply for an absentee ballot and check the status of their absentee ballot at vote.elections.virginia.gov.
Specific questions from Fauquier County residents should be addressed to the Fauquier County Office of the General Registrar, located at 528 Waterloo Road, Suite 200, Warrenton. The office is open from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (except Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 12) and may be reached by phone at 540-422-8290.
Registering to vote
If not already registered to vote, an individual must register by Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 5 p.m. to be eligible to cast a ballot in the 2020 general election; additionally, no changes to a voter’s registration – for instance, their address – may be made after this deadline.
Only U.S. citizens who will be 18 years old or older on Election Day are eligible to register. Residents may check their registration status at vote.elections.virginia.gov or by calling the registrar’s office at 540-422-8290.
Eligible residents may register to vote or change the name or address on their registration online at vote.elections.virginia.gov or in-person at a local registrar’s office. Registration forms are also available at Fauquier County’s three public libraries in Marshall, Warrenton and Bealeton and at the Department of Motor Vehicles offices in Warrenton and Remington. Residents may also call the local registrar’s office at 540-422-8290 to request a registration form be mailed to them.
The 2020 general election is the first election in which Virginia voters may cast an absentee ballot – either in-person or by mail -- without an approved “excuse.” Eligible voters may cast an absentee ballot beginning Friday, Sept. 18.
Eligible county residents may cast an absentee ballot in person, in a process similar to voting on Election Day, at either the main registrar’s office or at one of two satellite offices, which will be established next month:
- From Friday, Sept. 18, through Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Office of the General Registrar, 528 Waterloo Road, Suite 200, Warrenton. The registrar’s office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except for Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 12. This office will also be open Saturday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- From Tuesday, Oct. 13 through Saturday, Oct. 31 at the Bealeton Depot at Bealeton Library, 10877 Willow Drive North, Bealeton. This satellite registrar’s office will be open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This office will also be open Saturday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- From Tuesday, Oct. 13, through Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Vint Hill Village Green Community Center, 4235 Aiken Drive, Warrenton. This satellite registrar’s office will be open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This office will also be open Saturday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Eligible voters may also cast an absentee ballot through the mail. In order to cast an absentee ballot by mail, registered voters must first apply for an absentee ballot. (In Virginia, ballots are not automatically mailed to each voter.)
Registered voters may apply for an absentee ballot to be sent to them by mail:
For eligible residents who have already submitted an application to receive an absentee ballot by mail, those ballots will be mailed from the registrar’s office to those residents beginning Sept. 18. Completed absentee ballots may then be returned by mail using the pre-addressed envelope, or by returning the ballot physically to a county registrar’s office.
With several exceptions, registered voters for whom the 2020 general election will be the first time voting in their current locality are not permitted to cast a ballot by mail. These residents should contact the county registrar’s office at 540-422-8290 for more information if they wish to cast an absentee ballot by mail.
If a voter receives an absentee ballot by mail but later chooses to vote in-person instead, they must bring the absentee ballot received by mail with them to the registrar’s office or polling place. The absentee ballot will be destroyed before the individual is permitted to cast a ballot in person. Otherwise, the individual may only cast a provisional ballot. (Regardless, robust system checks are in place to prevent any one person from casting more than one vote, Fauquier County Deputy Registrar Diana Dutton emphasized.)
Dutton also emphasized that, for those wishing to cast an absentee ballot by mail, those individuals should mail their ballot well before the deadline to ensure the ballot is received in time to be counted. Most ballots received too late to be counted, she said, are sent by local residents or college students only a day or two before the deadline.
This emphasis on timeliness is not due to a lack of confidence in the U.S. Postal Service, she said. “All this on the media that is disparaging the [Postal Service] is really unfair,” she said. “They (the Postal Service) are bending over backwards to make this work. … I want our population to know our post offices are helping us and working with us to make this happen.”
- Tuesday, Oct. 13, 5 p.m., to register to vote and be eligible to cast a ballot in the 2020 general election.
- Friday, Oct. 23, 5 p.m., to apply for an absentee ballot by mail; all completed applications for absentee ballots must be received before the deadline. Postmarks are not acceptable.
- Saturday, Oct. 31, 5 p.m., to cast an absentee ballot in person.
- Tuesday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m., for the registrar’s office to receive a completed absentee ballot by mail. Mailed ballots received after this deadline will be counted if they are “clearly postmarked” on or before Tuesday, Nov. 3, and received by the registrar’s office by noon on Friday, Nov. 6; late ballots that do not meet these criteria will not be opened or counted.
On the ballot
Three federal elections will take place in Virginia as part of the 2020 general election: U.S. President, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
U.S. President: Incumbent Donald Trump (R), Joe Biden (D) and Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian) will appear on the ballot.
U.S. Senate: Incumbent Mark Warner (D) and Daniel Gade (R) will appear on the ballot.
U.S. House of Representatives: Fauquier County is part of two U.S. congressional districts.
1st Congressional District: Four of the county’s precincts are in the 1st Congressional District: 303 (Bealeton), 102 (Catlett), 104 (Lois) and 301 (Morrisville). On the ballot for this House of Representatives seat are incumbent Rob Wittman (R) and Qasim Rashid (D).
5th Congressional District: The remaining 16 precincts in the county are a part of the 5th Congressional District. Bob Good (R) and Cameron Webb (D) will appear on the ballot for this House of Representatives race.
Referenda: Two referenda to amend the Constitution of Virginia will be on the ballot. Proposed amendments to the state constitution must gain a majority of votes in order to become law.
The Virginia Redistricting Commission Amendment would, if approved, transfer the authority to draw the state’s congressional and legislative districts – which is required every decade after the national census -- from the General Assembly to a redistricting commission composed of eight state legislators and eight citizens.
Under the proposed amendment, districts then would need approval from the General Assembly – but not the governor – in order to be enacted. If “certain deadlines” for drawing new districts are not met, authority to draw districts would be passed to the Supreme Court of Virginia.
The Virginia Motor Vehicle Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans Amendment would, if approved, exempt one motor vehicle from state and local property taxes for military veterans who have a “100% service-connected, permanent and total disability.”