New Virginia voter ID law in effect
Monterey, Va. – The voter identification procedure in the state of Virginia has changed this year, so all residents in Highland and Bath Counties who intend to vote in the November election need to know about the new voter identification process. Donnie Ferrell, Secretary of the Highland County Electoral Board, talks about the new rules for voter identification.
“I want to take some time today to bring up some changes that will happen at the polling places as far as ID is required,” said Mr. Ferrell. “Now here in Virginia we’ve always required an ID for voting. But in the past we had a piece of paperwork called an affirmation of identity so that if you came to the polls and didn’t have ID, you could fill that out under the penalty of perjury, and then we would go ahead and let you vote. Then we would investigate who you said you were later on,” he said.
The voter identification process at the polls has been changed for this year.
“At this point in time, the affirmation of identity has been outlawed,” said Mr. Ferrell. “So there’s a new requirement in the state of Virginia. You will have to bring an identification to the polling place with you. Now the amount of identification is very broad. Don’t mistake this for the photo ID that we tried to pass last year in Virginia and failed. There’s only one voter a photo ID is required for. Everyone else that’s been voting all their life will be able to use a multitude of ID’s,” said Mr. Ferrell.
A photo ID is only required for people voting for the first time in the state of Virginia. For anyone who has voted in Highland County or elsewhere in Virginia previously, there are many forms of non-photo ID that are acceptable.
“Most everyone lately has probably received a new voter registration card in the mail,” said Mr. Ferrell. “That’s the perfect ID. If you bring that to the polling place, there will be no problem. A valid Virginia driver’s license is fine. Even a Virginia driver’s license that is expired, if it is not over thirty days, will work, if it matches your current address. There’s quite a few non-photo ID cards that are available – your Medicare card, your Medicaid card, a U.S. Selective Service card, and a Virginia concealed hand-gun permit,” he said.
Other non-photo documents that will be accepted include a bank or credit card statement with your current name and address, an official birth certificate, a government check with your current name and address, a paycheck with your current name and address, and even a utility bill with your current name and address. Mr. Ferrell goes on to describe what will happen if someone shows up at the polling place on November sixth without proper ID.
“If you do show up this year without an identification, we’re forced to put you in a provisional voter category,” said Mr. Ferrell. “What that means is that you’ll be required to vote your normal ballot, but we stick it in an envelope and seal it. It isn’t counted that night. It will be delivered to the Electoral Board the next day. You will have two and one-half days, that’d be until twelve noon on Friday, to bring in an ID, FAX an ID, email an ID, find some way to get us an ID. Then at that point in time we will take a look at it and your provisional envelope will be opened – no one will look at your vote – and from there we will proceed,” he said.
If you are a Highland County resident, and are not sure about what form of identification will work best for you, call the voter registrar, Alice Shumate in Monterey at 468-2013 and she will help you determine the best identification document to use on November 6. Voters in Bath and Pocahontas Counties, should check with their county voter registration office if they have any questions.