How Virginia is dealing with record early voting turnout

Christopher Piper, commissioner, Virginia Board of Elections, addresses concerns about absentee ballots, election results and more.
5:13 | 10/28/20

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Transcript for How Virginia is dealing with record early voting turnout
More than 2 million virginians have already voted in the 2020 election, that' almost four times the total number of early ballots cast in Virginia in 2016. Wow, let's bring in commissioner Christopher piper of the Virginia department of elections for an update. Commissioner, we really appreciate you being with us. This is an incredibly busy time. This is just came in this morning, the deadline to request a mail-in ballot in Virginia has passed but reportedly now the state's election system is letting people apply for ballots regardless, can you explain what's going on? Sure. The law requires that anybody who wants to apply for a ballot, an absentee ballot up to a year in advance has that opportunity. We have clear markings on the system that say, the ballot deadline for November 3rd has passed. When they're applying for ballot, they're applying for future elections. We sent more guidance and more information on our website, but unfortunately, this is a factor of the law. But we're notifying those voters, letting them know that they'll need to vote in personetter on election day or prior to election day. This is an unprecedented year. Speaking of Virginia law, it allows for the pre-processing of ballots before election day, but you can't start counting them until November 3rd, so with that in mind, when do you think we'll get final results from Virginia? We advised registrars in Virginia continue processing mail-in ballots through 11:00 P.M. On election day. After 11:00 P.M. We're asking them to go ahead and post their results. You mentioned the 2 million that have already voted, around 11:00 P.M. We'll have all the votes reported from election day and the votes casted on election day. After 11:00 P.M. All the early votes and the mail-in ballots that they've been able to process up to that point. In Virginia, you're allowed to return a ballot postmarked by election day, you can return it until Friday by noon. So we'll have additional results coming in after Friday at noon. But we expect a majority of our results to be entered a little after 11:00 P.M. On election day. This is so much for voters to keep up and with all the changes and another change, you just mentioned postmarks, but now they are actually going to acceptlots that don't have a postmark, why that change, why is that important for voters there in Virginia? Well, we've seen in previous elections and in other states this is a new law for Virginia. The state board of elections realizing that ballots sometimes do get returned, the united States postal service, not applying a postmark on those ballots, we wanted -- I'm sorry, the state board wanted to make sure that any, any error that was out of the voter's control didn't mean that the voter's ballot shouldn't count. If the voter's done everything right, then the vote should count. There was a group of lawyers at Georgetown who actually put out kind of a cheat sheet for people reminding them of what you can do and can't do as poll watcher at these polls, and there were concerns after president trump made a mention of people, we're going to need to send poll watchers out there, voter intimidation, and even possibly armed militias showing up. Some police chiefs have expressed some concern, do you have any of those concerns about what could happen at those polling places? Have you seen anything like that so far? So, in Virginia, in order to be a poll watcher, there are certain steps that one has to take and information they have to provide to the locality in order to be inside the polls. And so we have those protections in place. We've always advised voters that if they witness any intimidation or hindrance in their ability to access those polls, they should notify the election officers inside and then they should, if unable, they can contact the local voter registration office or our office and let the election officials handle it. I want to talk about masks. Because there is an indoor mask mandate in your state with a $500. We also know that Virginia law there says that voters can't be hindered at all from voting. What are you going to do if someone wants to go in to cast a without a mask on? We'll have masks at the polling place. If they're unwilling to wear a mask, they've been instructed to encourage those voters to utilize our curbside voting system. They can drive up in their car and cast their vote that way. All right, Virginia department of elections commissioner, Christopher piper, big, big job and some busy days ahead of you. We want to thank you again for joining us today. Thank you for having me. Have a great day. And a reminder to our viand new voters out there, there's a helpful resource from our partners at fivethirtyeight. Check out how to vote site. Up next right here, going for the gold.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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