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Opinion — New services available

You can vote early at your local registrar’s office beginning 45 days before Election Day and ending the Saturday before Election Day. Early Voting starts in Virginia on Sept. 17.

You do not have to have a reason or fill out an application to vote early. At the registrar’s office or satellite voting location, you must provide your name and address and show an acceptable form of ID or sign an ID Confirmation Statement. If acceptable identification is not provided, you must sign an ID Confirmation Statement, or a provisional ballot will be offered, and you are allowed until the Friday at noon following the election to provide a copy of acceptable identification to the electoral board or sign an ID Confirmation Statement. Provisional voters receive a notice to remind them of the deadline and right to attend the electoral board meeting.

Accessible equipment and/or curbside voting is available upon request as well.

There are five Early Voting locations in the 59th District, located at your counties registrar’s office.

Albemarle County Registrar’s Office is located at 1600 5th Street Ext, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Operating hours are 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and their phone number is (434) 972-4173.

Appomattox County Registrar’s Office is located at 367 Virginia Avenue, Appomattox, VA 24522. Operating hours are 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and their phone number is (434) 352-5302.

Buckingham County Registrar’s Office is located at 13360 W James Anderson Hwy, Buckingham, VA 23921. Operating hours are 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and their phone number is (434) 969-4304.

Campbell County Registrar’s Office is located at 774 Village Highway, Rustburg, VA 24588. Operating hours are 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and their phone number is (434) 332-9579.

Nelson County Registrar’s Office is located at 571 Front Street, Lovingston, VA 22949. Operating hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and their phone number is (434) 263-7190.

You can also visit https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation to register, check your registration status, find your polling location and apply to vote absentee.

Chapter 1 of the 2021 Acts of Assembly Special Session II required DMV to submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly with an operating plan for returning to serve walk-in customers at existing customer service centers in addition to the appointment reservation system put in place due to the pandemic.

Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 5, DMV will offer walk-in service on alternating days at all customer service centers. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (if normally open) will be for walk-ins only. Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be appointment-only days.

Expanding in-person service has included several new offices. While none are directly in the 59th District, these new offices will increase capacity across the Commonwealth, as will renovations to the Charlottesville customer service center by the end of this year.

The DMV has also been working to expand the DMV Select program, reaching out to local governments to establish contractual partnerships to offer mostly vehicle-related DMV services such as titling and registration. As of early September 2021, there are 54 DMV Select offices open across Virginia, including the new Scottsville DMV Select, which opened on Aug. 16. The DMV expects to announce more partnerships in coming months.

DMV is seeking to increase partnerships with auto auctions. Prior to the pandemic, DMV enlisted the services of two auto auctions in the Commonwealth to assist in processing titles for vehicles sold through dealerships. DMV is working to add a third auto auction partnership, which will expand the resources available to customers for processing titles and registrations.

Additionally, the DMV instituted new online and by mail two-year driver’s license and ID card renewal options. In all, DMV added the 10 new online services through the pandemic, bringing the total to 55. The new services include two-year driver’s license renewal, two-year ID card renewal, commercial driver’s license (CDL) renewal, commercial driver’s license replacement, driver’s license learner’s permit replacement, driver privilege card replacement, driver privilege card renewal, limited duration driver’s license learner’s permit replacement, limited duration driver’s license replacement and payment plan online for Virginia residents.

In addition to expanding the availability of online transactions, DMV instituted a drop off title work option on Aug. 16. Title services were already available by mail, in person by appointment, and through DMV Selects, but customers now have the option of dropping off title work at all full-service DMV centers. Without needing an appointment, customers bring their application packet to the information desk, where a customer service representative will review and verify the application and supporting documents for accuracy and completeness. DMV customer service representatives process the work within five business days and the customer may either return to DMV to pick up their title and registration materials or have them sent by mail with a turnaround time of four days.

DMV has also expanded its remote learner’s permit testing program. Students, and perhaps to a greater degree their parents, enjoy the convenience of taking the test at a school facility instead of making a trip to a DMV office. DMV has partnerships with 146 Virginia public high schools in 52 localities and six private schools.

DMV’s expanded third-party commercial driver’s license testing program allows licensed third-party testers to administer knowledge tests as well as skills tests. There are now 48 third-party testers, with four more starting soon.

You can find more information here: https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/general/pdf/service_faqs.pdf and, as a reminder, if you or anyone you know are having issues with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, my office can assist. Please give us a call at the district office and we would be happy to help.

Del. C. Matthew Fariss represents Buckingham in the Virginia House of Delegates. His email address is DelMFariss@house.virginia.gov.