No June primary elections are scheduled this year for Bath and Highland Counties
By Bonnie Ralston
In Bath and Highland Counties, there are no primary elections this June. The next election coming up is the general election in November where Mark Warner’s Senate seat and Bob Goodlatte’s House seat will both be on the ballot.
But Charles Garrett, the General Registrar of Bath County, wants to get the word out now about a major change in election law in Virginia.
“Beginning July first of this year, in every election that follows and the first one for us will be November, you must show an ID that has a photo on it,” says Garrett. “There’s been a long list of acceptable ID’s prior to this, which included your nice little voter card that you get from our office. That’s still a very valuable document to keep, but it’s no longer sufficient ID at the polls. When you come to the polls you will need an ID that has a photo on it. The most common one is a driver’s license, the next most common one people have is the DMV photo ID that you get if you don’t have a driver’s license. Any government issued ID that has a photo on it is acceptable. A photo ID from a Virginia college or university is acceptable. And if your employer issues you an ID that has a photo on it, in the normal course of your work you get a photo ID, you can use that to vote too.”
And what do you do if you don’t have one of those photo ID’s? You can get a new Virginia voting ID that can be issued to those who don’t have any other form of photo ID.
“Virginia had the foresight to offer a free ID for voting, which will be available beginning July first,” says Garrett. “All the registrars will have the capability of producing a photo ID which you can use for voting. It is separate from your voter card. It won’t have address information on it. It will have your voter ID number encoded in bar code. And it will be designed specifically for use at the polls.”
And Garrett says it’s not too early to start talking about next year. It’s a big election year locally and candidates need to start planning early.
“In November of 2015 we will elect all of our constitutional officers including clerk of the court, who is only elected every eight years,” says Garrett. “And all of our supervisors and all of our school board will be on the ballot in 2015. Anybody who is going to run for one of the seats needs to start their planning to get their petitions together and those kinds of things in the spring next year, where as they did it in the summer the last time. In fact they need to be underway this time next year.”
Garrett also says that candidates need to get familiar with new financial reporting system requirements regarding deadlines on monthly reports. These new requirements apply to candidates for all local offices, except the Mountain Soil and Water Conservation District.
For more information you can contact Bath County General Registrar Charles Garrett at 540-839-7266.