Early Voting in the Library

2021 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Chesterfield County, Va., VA

About the Program

Category: Libraries (Best in Category)

Year: 2021

The 2020 presidential election brought extraordinary interest in early voting, both because of general election interest and the impact of COVID-19. The combination of COVID-19 and a new Virginia law allowing absentee voting without a state-approved reason, resulted in historic levels of absentee voting ahead of the November election. To accommodate the expected turnout, interest in early voting, and concerns about large groups gathering during a pandemic, the Chesterfield Registrar’s office partnered with Chesterfield County Public Library (CCPL) to provide early voting satellite locations for approximately two weeks before election day, in addition to the early voting and absentee voting coordinated at the Registrar’s office. This was designed to allow residents close, convenient voting locations, and to spread out the number of people gathering at any one time, thereby allowing for a safer environment for voters and poll workers alike. At the four library locations across the county that served as early voting locations, of the 149,510 Chesterfield early votes cast, 54,843 were cast at libraries. The additional locations alleviated the long waits that would have occurred at the registrar’s office during the early voting period, presenting a safe and convenient option for our citizens to participate in the democratic process.

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