Absentee Voting Starts Friday for Virginia GOP Presidential Primary

No loyalty oath presumed; no write-ins allowed.

Absentee voting begins Friday in the state’s Republican presidential primary.

Earlier this week, election officers around Virginia weren’t 100 percent sure which names would appear on the ballot. But by Tuesday afternoon, they could finally order printed ballots, after a federal court denied an appeal by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to get on the ballot.

“The printed ballots got here today,” Fairfax County’s chief election official, , said Wednesday, of the 192,000 ballots she ordered late Tuesday afternoon after the judge’s ruling. “We have a good printer. I think they shipped them back to us in less than 24 hours.”

The only candidates’ names Virginians will see on the GOP presidential primary ballot are those of former Massachusetts Gov. and Texas Congressman .  Perry, along with former Speaker , former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who dropped out Monday, didn’t meet the requirements to appear on Virginia’s ballot.

Supporter of a candidate who didn’t make the ballot? Don’t get any ideas. “You can write in on a general election ballot,” Quinn said, “but not a primary ballot.”

Who can vote absentee?

There are several ways you can qualify to vote absentee. Qualifying reasons include:

  • You commute and work for 11 of the 13 hours the polls are open. (Take into account those days when traffic is heavy or the weather is bad and it takes longer than usual to get to and from work.)
  • You are a caregiver for a confined family member.
  • You are unable to go to the polls in person on Election Day because of an illness or disability.
  • You will be absent from your city or county on Election Day because of personal business, work, school, or vacation.
Absentee Voting in Virginia Important Dates

Deadline for mailed or faxed absentee ballot applications to be received by the Voter Registration Office

Feb. 28 Deadline for in-person absentee voting March 3

Deadline for absentee ballot to be received by the Office of Voter Registration. The ballot may be mailed or dropped off in person (an absentee ballot dropped off must be delivered personally by the voter).

March 6 In-person absentee voting in Alexandria:  

132 North Royal Street, Suite 100, Alexandria

Weekdays          8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Feb. 20)

In-person absentee voting in Fairfax County:

Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 323, Fairfax


8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Thursdays 'til 7 p.m. (closed Feb. 20)

Deadline to register to vote

Feb. 13

Loyalty Oath

“We have not gotten official word,” Quinn said Wednesday. The vote of the state Republican central committee won’t occur until Saturday but the state elections board has told localities not to mail out the oath with ballots, she said. “We have every reason to believe the Republican Party is going to rescind the loyalty oath.” 

The Fairfax County Office of Elections is still recruiting for people to work at the polls on March 6. "Frankly if we don’t get enough, we're going to put Democrats in if there are not enough Republicans," Quinn said. "Even for Democratic primaries, this issue has come up and we've had to use some Republicans as well."

Not sure whether you're registered? You can verify your registration by visiting the Virginia State Board of Elections.

For more information on absentee voting, visit the Fairfax County Office of Elections here or the City of Alexandria Voter Registration & Elections office here

Will Radle January 19, 2012 at 11:49 AM
The requirement to pledge an oath to the eventual Republican Presidential nominee has been dropped. The pledge will not be taken. The requirement of pledging a future vote is an unconstitutional interjection between a voter and his or her conscience, discourages voters from engaging in the process, remains unenforceable, and shows ignorance of our American electoral process. I am glad it has been dropped. A. Will Radle, Jr. Creating a Culture of Listening June 12 Democratic Candidate for VA8
Mary Ann Barton January 19, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Hi Mr. Radle, I know GOP party officials announced they plan to drop the loyalty oath requirement, but it's not officially been done yet (not until Saturday). Just wanted to clarify that point.
Will Radle January 19, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Hi! Please call me Will. I am an ordinary American, a concerned neighbor. It's important we get the message out clearly so people can feel welcomed to participate in the electoral process. Thank you, Mary Ann!
Mary Ann Barton January 19, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Hi Will, Certainly!


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