Steve Anderson, like countless others, believes that the 2020 Presidential Election will determine the future direction of America. Anderson never takes his right to vote for granted, and neither should any Salem citizen, he said. “On the front lines of American democracy are municipalities. Voting gives voice to needs of a community which can translate into action,” Anderson added.
Rather than their normal precincts, locals who choose to vote on Election Day will have to cast their ballot at the Salem Civic Center inside the parlor rooms and community room. As a sign of the pandemic times, the booths will be more spaced out, and poll workers will have masks and hand sanitizer on hand.
Those who show up are required to bring at least one form of ID that has the voter’s current address.
More than 2,4500 residents have already voted in person, said Salem Registrar Dana Oliver. She added that roughly 5,000 residents have already voted via absentee, a City of Salem record. During the 2016 Presidential Election, Salem only had 1,400 absentee ballots.
“Normally, it’s just me and one other person working full-time. Right now I have five people working under the CARES Act,” Oliver said. “We have a tent up and have workers checking people in. We also have workers who keep all of the machines and photo booths clean.”
Early in-person voting at registrar offices throughout the Commonwealth started on September 18. Until October 13, Virginia residents can register to vote at elections.virginia.gov. Ten days later will be the last day to request an absentee ballot application to vote by mail. Mail-in ballots can be returned via the post office up until Election Day.
Marie Edwards said it wouldn’t matter if she lost the feeling in both arms, she is going to participate in the 2020 general election. I don’t care if I have to wait in line for over two hours, she said, it will absolutely be worth it. Added the 52-year-old, “No candidate on any ticket is perfect. I encourage people to vote for individuals on the local, state and national level that they think will make their lives better.”
There will be a drop-off location if people choose to use it on Election Day.
“During both the May and June elections we changed locations due to COVID-19. The social halls and the churches are still not open to the public yet which was part of the reason why the decision was made to move to the civic center,” Oliver said.
Answers to additional questions can be found at salemva.gov.