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Northam highlights voter protection ahead of Nov. 3 election

2020 election
(© Leigh Prather –

Gov. Ralph Northam today announced proposals to expand access to voting for the Nov. 3 election.

Among the proposals: prepaid postage for absentee ballots, money for secure drop boxes and a measure allowing voters to correct an error on their absentee ballot.

“As we continue to navigate this pandemic, we must take additional steps to make it easier to vote, not harder,” Northam said. “With these measures, we will protect public health and ensure Virginians can safely exercise their right to vote in the November election. Whether you put your ballot in the mail or vote in-person, voting will be safe and secure in our Commonwealth.”


  • Prepaid postage: Northam’s proposed budget sets aside $2 million for prepaid return postage on all absentee ballots sent out for the Nov. 3 election.
  • Drop off boxes and drop off locations: The governor’s proposal includes language expressly permitting localities to use drop boxes or implement drop off locations for Virginians who choose to vote absentee, under security standards to be set by the Virginia Department of Elections.
  • Absentee cure process:  This measure will ensure Virginians’ voting rights are protected by allowing them to fix an error on their absentee ballot. Currently, Virginians who make an error are not able to fix that error and therefore their ballot may be discarded. Many Virginians will be voting absentee for the first time this November, and this language will help ensure Virginians’ votes are counted.

Northam’s proposed budget also includes funding for measures to reform policing; teach a more accurate version of Virginia history; expand safe, affordable housing; increase access to high-speed broadband; provide resources for urgent dam safety; and support Virginia’s public Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Additional information and presentations on the governor’s proposed amendments to the 2020-2022 Biennial Budget can be found here.