Virginia Social Workers:
Cast Your Vote!
General Election: November 7, 2023
Voting is one of the most powerful ways to advocate for social work and your clients. NASW has a long, proud history defending voter rights and participation. Calling it a “fundamental right,” NASW outlines in Social Work Speaks (its approved policy guide book) that it opposes voter suppression such as
implementation of what could be considered “poll taxes,”
purging voter registration rolls of “ineligible voters” in ways that disproportionately impact minority and vulnerable populations;
disenfranchising for life those people convicted of a felony (both those who are imprisoned and those who have served their time),
burdensome voter identification laws,
intentional limits on voting access sites or narrow early-voting periods, and
voter fraud misinformation (Voting in the United States is actually very secure and safe.)
In addition, the NASW Code of Ethics requires social workers to advocate for social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed people (NASW, 2017). This includes supporting education of marginalized populations about their rights as eligible voters and U.S. citizens.
See this list of resources to answer the most common questions about voting in Virginia, especially since there have been many changes in the past three years, ranging from types of accepted identification to early-voting periods to redistricting.
5 Important Points to Remember to Get Your Vote Counted
1. Your voting site may have changed, thanks to redistricting. Virginia has changed its legislative districts, so don’t find yourself confused or disappointed on Election Day. You can see a map version of the final redistricting here. Find your polling place here. You’ll find more information here.
2. Voting early is easy and convenient. Virginia has some of the best early in-person voting opportunities in the nation. You’ll find a 45-day period to cast your vote at a range of local sites during business hours (sites to be announced by October 10). As elections near, some hours are even on Saturdays in certain districts during late October prior to a November election.
3. Confirm your voter registration OR get registered before the deadline! Don’t miss the deadline to register to vote or to update your voter registration information by October 17, 2023! The deadline to register to vote in 2023 is October 16.
4. Virginia has expanded the types of acceptable identification needed to confirm you are you, so that you can vote. College and university social work students: You can use your school identification cards as acceptable identification to vote. This goes for schools that are public and private, local, or nonlocal to Virginia.
Virginia offers a variety of acceptable forms of voting identification, including voter confirmation documents, current utility bills and banking statements (within 12 months of age), a signed ID confirmation statement, driver’s licenses, Department of Motor Vehicles-issued IDs, passports, and more! Click here for more ID information.
5. Absentee voting rules have changed—emergency pandemic waivers have expired. Although the national public health emergency ends in May 2023, voting waivers associated with it ended in 2022 in Virginia. Most importantly, all absentee votes MUST have a witness signature to be considered valid. This requirement was waived during the public health emergency, but it will be in effect in 2023. The witness does NOT have to be a register voter, just needs to be over age 18.
Virginia does allow mail-in ballots, but the time to request one, the time to postmark it, and the time of receiving it for it to be counted have all varied each year. Visit here for the latest information on upcoming elections
Request a mail-in ballot here.
View candidate information here.
Understand voter accessibility information:
Still have voting questions? No worries. Visit the Election Board’s FAQ page for answers.
NOTE: The Supreme Court of Virginia released the final maps for the voting districts of the Senate of Virginia, the Virginia House of Delegates, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Please check this interactive map to ensure you know if your voting location and district have changed. Read or download the announcementthat includes the map.