League of Women Voters Encourages Student Voter Registration as “Old School” Methods Change

Use this QR code to get more information on voting registration and to register to vote today.

Use this QR code to get more information on voting registration and to register to vote today.

With the 2021 general election coming up, and early voting already begun, the League of Women Voters is encouraging students to register to vote as soon as possible.

Dede Goldsmith is the voter registration coordinator and treasurer for the League. She has noted several changes in registering to vote due to COVID-19 and encourages students living far from home to register to vote absentee.

“Over the past 18 months, I think we have all become more comfortable and well-versed in doing voter registration and voting via mail-in ballots without the need for in-person actions,” Goldsmith said. “This has dramatically impacted access to voting by students and other sectors of the voting public.”

Goldsmith says that, in the past, most people felt they could only vote on Election Day.

“That is definitely now old-school, given new laws that facilitate early voting and the increased publicity around doing so,” she added.

She also spoke about the importance of recognizing registration deadlines.

“Everyone, including student voters, must adhere to voter registration application deadlines,” Goldsmith said. “If they miss the Oct. 12 deadline, they can’t vote in the election on Nov. 2.”

Goldsmith outlined the steps to register.

“You have to be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Virginia, age 18 by or on the date of the next General Election, and if you have ever been convicted of a felony you have to have your voting rights restored,” Goldsmith explained. “And if you have ever been declared mentally incapacitated by a court you would need that restored. When you register to vote it’s best if you have your social security number and your drivers licence.”

Goldsmith also explained how to request an absentee ballot if not able to vote in-person on or before Election Day.

“You need to contact the voter registrar or go online to request that an absentee ballot be sent to you,” she said. “This year you also have to have a witness sign the envelope that your ballot is in.”

She stressed the importance of providing an accurate phone number and email address, as well, to avoid delays that keep the vote from being counted.

“If they don’t have either of those ways to contact you, they will send things in the mail, and that takes time,” Goldsmith said.

Students can go online and check their registration status at vote.elections.virginia.gov through the citizens portal. The Voter Registrar’s Office in Abingdon, VA—located at 1 Government Center Place, Suite AA—will also be open Saturday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 30 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for voter registration. For more information about the League of Women Voters you can visit their website at https://lwv-va.org/.


Washington County’s League of Women Voters created this poster to share important voting dates with students and community members.

Washington County’s League of Women Voters compiled this information for students. New laws that may affect students’ voting ability are listed above.