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We tried Virginia's same-day voter registration on Election Day. Here's how it went.

A 13News Now digital content producer tried Virginia's same-day voter registration in Norfolk on Election Day.
Credit: Sam Schaffer

NORFOLK, Va. — Editor's note: This story was written by Samuel Schaffer, a 13News Now digital reporter.

It's Election Day, and like many Americans, I planned on voting on Nov. 8.

Unlike many voters, I still hadn't registered to vote by the general election. 

I moved to Norfolk this summer, and while I place high importance on voting, things like adjusting to living with a partner, taking care of my dog, Milkshake, and making sure I'm doing all I can at work have taken up most of my time. 

RELATED: Election Day updates: Polls open in Virginia, North Carolina 2022 midterms

Luckily, Virginia allows voters to register and vote on Election Day. People who register on Election Day must use a provisional ballot. 

Being faced with the situation I was in, it was a perfect time to test the system and see just how easy it is to register and vote on the same day in Virginia. 

Despite my ineptitude, the process was smooth and reassuring.

I left work around 1 p.m. to drive to my polling location in Ocean View. Once there, I let the chief election officer know that I was registering and voting on the same day. 

She was disappointed in my lack of preparation, but she nonetheless gave me the necessary paperwork and sent me to the back of the room to begin filling out my registration information. 

Once I turned in the original sheet of paperwork, the poll worker who was sitting with me raised an issue. 

RELATED: 2022 Midterm Election Voter Guide

She said that I was at the wrong polling location based on my address. I began to panic and think about how I needed to get back to work. 

The poll workers were helpful though. They told me where my correct polling location was -- about two blocks away from the one I was at -- and sent me on my way with my paperwork in hand. 

I arrived at the Pretlow Library in Ocean View around 2 p.m. There, I went inside and let the poll workers know what was going on. They were a little confused at first and called over the chief officer of elections at that spot. 

Mark Snell-Cook, the chief, came over and got me on the right path once he saw my work ID (any work ID can serve as your identification at the polls). He sat me down and had me fill out the paperwork. 

He then took my paperwork and gave me a ballot. It was the same ballot that everybody else got. The only difference was that mine would go in an envelope to be reviewed by the local electoral board.

He said the local board that my polling place fell under would be meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Norfolk Courthouse. He made it clear that any small issue in my personal information, even just forgetting to sign, could disqualify my ballot from being counted.

After that conversation, I handed over my ballot, and the chief sealed it in a green envelope that I wrote my personal information on. 

He let me know my ballot would be set aside for review with the rest of the provisional ballots, wrote down my information in the provisional ballot log and sent me on my way. Not before I secured one of those super cool "I voted" stickers though.

And after that whole ordeal, I still made it back to work by 3 p.m. after about an hour total commute.

This is the first major election that Virginia instituted same-day voter registration. For more information, read 13News Now's story about it.

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