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Deadlines to know before election day in Virginia

Political analysts say results may take a week

RICHMOND, Va. — WUSA9 has your countdown to the Commonwealth’s new Governor. We Verify what you need to know to make sure your vote counts.

Our sources: Virginia Board of Elections Commissioner Chris Piper and Virginia Commonwealth University Political Science Professor Alex Keena. 

Professor Keena said since polls show a dead heat, calling the election may take up to a week. 

“Election day is not a day anymore,” explained Keena. “We need to prepare ourselves for the fact that we probably won't know on election night and it might take a couple of days to count every single vote. That's just sort of the normal process to maintain secure elections.”

According to Elections Commissioner Chris Piper, more than 168,000 voters already cast ballots in the Commonwealth.

So, here’s your voter timeline according to the Commissioner:

All early in-person, mail-in and absentee ballots will be processed until Election Day but won’t be counted until the polls close November 2nd. If you’re in line after 7 p.m. on Election Day, you’ll still be able to vote.     

If you’re mailing in a ballot, Friday, November 5 at noon is a deadline to remember.

That’s the last possible time your mail-in ballot will be accepted and counted if it’s postmarked by Election Day. That’s also your deadline to fix any issues with your mail-in ballot. The registrar will contact you if you forget any required information like the witness signature on the envelope.

Finally, here’s your last date to keep in mind: November 15 – almost 2 weeks after Decision Day. That’s when the Board of Elections meets to certify the results.  

“I certainly don't remember a governor's election in Virginia that had this much interest,” said Keena. “And that's a good thing.”  

According to the Elections Commissioner, a recount can only occur if the margin of victory is less than 1%. The recount is not automatic, but if that margin is less than half a percent, the Commonwealth will pay for the recount. If it’s higher, the candidate who asks for the recount gets the bill.

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