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How to Be Removed from the Permanent Absentee Ballot List

The 2020 changes to Virginia election law included a controversial statute that if voters did not take action, they would be automatically placed on the permanent absentee ballot list to receive ballots by mail for every election.

Update: The Electoral Board and election office said on May 27, 2022 that voters were removed from the permanent absentee list in 2021 if they came in to vote in person during early voting.

To be removed from the permanent list, the voter must make the request in writing to the registrar. However the Virginia Department of Elections issued no guidance to the General Registrars for 2021 to answer voter’s questions.

Voting early in person does not trigger removal from the permanent list, however there are other conditions that will cause a voter to be removed from the permanent list per the Code § 24.2-703.1. 

The relevant text is copied below:
D. A voter shall be removed from the permanent absentee voter list if (i) the voter requests in writing to be removed from the list, (ii) the voter’s registration is canceled pursuant to § 24.2-427, (iii) the voter’s registration is placed on inactive status pursuant to § 24.2-428 or 24.2-428.1, or (iv) the voter moves to a different address not in the same county or city of his registration.

To be removed from the list, the Prince William County General Registrar sent the following form, posted below to be downloaded. It should be filled out and emailed to AbsenteeVoting@pwcgov.org. You can also drop off the form at the Prince William County Elections Office at 9250 Lee Avenue, Suite 1, or ask the form to be emailed to you at AbsenteeVoting@pwcgov.org.

If you are NOT a registered voter in Prince William County, contact your local Department of Elections with the same information as below and tell them you wish to be removed from the permanent absentee ballot list. An email asking for removal to your county or city General Registrar (or Director of Elections) in your area should cause them to respond to you.

The new absentee ballot application has the option for the voter to be placed on the absentee ballot list for one election or for all elections. This application did not have that option in 2020, and people who did not indicate otherwise were added to the permanent list by the state.

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