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Bracing for Voter I.D. Issues

GRAPHIC: Virginia will hold it's first statewide election under a new voter ID law, and voting rights advocates are preparing to help voters cast votes under the new system.
GRAPHIC: Virginia will hold it's first statewide election under a new voter ID law, and voting rights advocates are preparing to help voters cast votes under the new system.
November 3, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. - Voting rights advocates are bracing for possible problems at the polls, due to Virginia's new voter ID law.

AARP Virginia is reminding voters they will be asked to present current photo identification. Ginger Thompson, communications director with AARP, says a number of different photo IDs will work, including passports and Virginia college IDs.

"If they are uncertain, they should contact the Virginia State Board of Elections so they will be able to cast a vote that counts on election day," says Thompson.

If a registered voter doesn't have a valid ID with them, they can still cast a provisional ballot, which can be counted if they present an ID by the end of the week. Anyone who has a problem voting can call an ACLU hotline at 1-800-678-9885 or visit acluva.org. Some estimates are that up to 300,000 state voters lack a DMV issued ID.

The registrar's office is issuing free voters' identification cards - even on Election Day or after. Hope Amezquita, staff attorney with the state ACLU, says if voters go to the polls and want to vote without an ID, the poll workers are required to give written instructions on the process for getting an identification card. She says the process is designed to be fast enough to validate a provisional ballot.

"That voter can go to their general registrar's office, fill out an application for a free voter photo ID, and then that general registrar will print an instant ID for that voter to use to show proof of ID," she says.

Amezquita says the state ACLU will also have observers at the polls during the election.

"Our poll monitors are going to be there to answer questions from voters, to help voters get their temporary IDs, and we also want to identify persons who may be harmed by the law," says Amezquita.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA