Protect Your Vote: What You Need to Know About Voting in Virginia

Oct 11 2012 Published by under Featured News

 

Republicans in Virginia passed their version of the ALEC inspired voter ID law. As is the case in other states, this law is designed to discourage eligible voters from exercising their franchise.  Unlike voter ID laws in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the Department of Justice signed off on Virginia’s version.

According to a report by the Washington Post back in August:

Justice officials found that the law, which closes a provision that had allowed Virginians to vote without identification but also expands the types of ID accepted at the polls, does not violate the Voting Rights Act, McDonnell said in a statement.

This is perhaps because Virginia’s law is less stringent than those passed in other states, as noted by Washington Post Columnist, Robert McCartney:

Fortunately, the revised voting requirements in Virginia aren’t nearly as onerous as in some other states, such as Pennsylvania. Even a current utility bill, showing one’s name and address, is among the documents that will satisfy polling officials. A state voter card, a driver’s license, a concealed-handgun permit or several other kinds of identification will also suffice.

Just the same, you should register to vote.  Under Virginia law, the deadline for registering for this election is 22 days before Election day,  or October 16th.

If you need to update your name or address, you can do it by sending a letter to your General Registrar. The letter should contain the following information.

  • Name
  • Enough information to identify you – such as the social security number
  • Current address
  • Previous address
  • Signature

You can also notify of an address change at your local DMV.

Finally, you can update your name, address or other changes by completing this downloadable Voter Registration application.

If you are in the Military or living overseas, you can still register to vote and request an absentee ballot with a Federal Post Card Application

You can find further details about the fvap applications at this link.

Even if you are certain that you are certain that you are registered, you should confirm it, and that your information is accurate.

You can confirm that you are registered to vote in Virginia at this link, where you will need to provide the following information:

  • Your Voter ID number
  • Your locality (county)
  • First and last name.
  • Your Birthdate
  • The last four digits of your Social Security Number

By confirming your registration, you will have also certified the following:

I certify and affirm that the social security number digits and date of birth submitted to access my voter registration record are my own. I understand that it is unlawful to access the record of any other voter, punishable as computer fraud under Va. Code § 18.2-152.3.

While Virginia’s Voter ID law is comparatively relaxed to the laws in other states, you do need to have one of the following pieces of ID to vote with a normal ballot.

For voters with special needs, curbside voting is available.  According to the state government’s website, Virginia is “in the process of making all of its polling places fully accessible to elderly voters and voters with disabilities. Finally, as is required under the Help America Vote Act, every polling location in Virginia must be equipped with at least on accessible voting system to assure that all voters with special needs can vote with the same privacy and independence as voters without special needs.

Further information for voters with special needs is available at this link.

Under Virginia law, you will need to provide one of the following pieces of identification when you vote.

  • Virginia voter registration card
  • Valid Virginia driver’s license
  • Military ID
  • Any Federal, Virginia state or local government-issued ID
  • Employer issued photo ID card
  • Concealed handgun permit
  • Valid student ID issued by any institution of higher education located in the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck indicating the name and address of the voter
  • Social Security card *

If you don’t have one of the documents listed above with you on Election Day, you can still vote with a provisional ballot.

However, for your vote to count, you will have to provide a copy of valid ID.  You will be provided with written instructions on this point, after you vote.

You should also verify your voting location, which you can do here.

Be prepared and make your vote count!  If you can, please help a friend or two get ready, so that their voices will also be heard on Election Day.

Image from CBS 6

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