Properly-mailed absentee ballots that arrive at Virginia elections offices without a postmark will still be counted under new rules formally approved by the state board of elections on Tuesday.
The regulation requires vote counting officials to accept mailed absentee ballots until Nov. 6 at noon, as long as those ballots are mailed on or before polls close on Nov. 3, the official Election Day.
If there is no postmark to prove when the ballot was mailed, the new regulation requires election officials first consult barcode data stamped by the US Postal Service on the ballot. If that does not prove conclusive whether the ballot was mailed before the deadline, officials will review the date the voter wrote when signing the ballot envelope.
The rules passed at a Tuesday afternoon meeting of the board by a vote of 2-1. Board members did not explain the rationale for their votes.
The total ballots cast so far in Virginia, 1.44 million, is more than two and a half times the number cast in early voting in 2016.