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State voter ID controversies confuse Virginia voters about new voter ID law.
By Oct. 1, all registered Virginia voters will be mailed a new voter registration card, which serves as a valid ID at polls.
Visit the Photo Place
BY BRIDGET BALCH
The State Board of Elections is working with local registrars to dispel the confusion over Virginia's new voter ID law--caused largely by controversies over laws in other states.
Virginia's voter ID requirements, by comparison, are largely unchanged.
In Virginia, voters can use almost any type of government-issued identification cards, as well as paperwork such as utility bills and paycheck stubs. A photo ID is not required. In addition, thanks to an executive order issued by Gov. Bob McDonnell, by Oct. 1, every registered voter in the state will be mailed a new voter registration card that will be accepted at the polls.
While Virginia's new voter ID requirements make it easier for voters to provide acceptable identification, several states have tried to make their voter ID requirements more stringent.
These requirements have met with heavy opposition, particularly from Democrats, who claim that these laws mirror literacy tests and other restrictions that were used in the past to prevent blacks from voting.
Opponents claim that these voter ID laws target minorities, the disabled, poor people and college students, groups that generally tend to vote Democrat.
For some states, including Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas, the fates of the new voter ID laws remain uncertain as the courts scramble to resolve challenges and appeals before the Nov. 6 election.
Virginia's law, however, received pre-clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice and has remained uncontested. Though election observers speculated that turnout this year would drop compared to 2008, the Fredericksburg area has actually seen an increase in voter registration.
Fredericksburg has 3,111 more registered voters as of Sept. 1 this year than it did on Sept. 1, 2008. Registrations are up in Stafford County by 16,402, in Caroline County by 1,785, in Orange County by 3,586, in Louisa County by 2,164 and in Westmoreland County by 1,060.
Spotsylvania County has about 5,500 more than on Election Day 2008, according to Kellie Acors, the county's registrar.
That totals about 33,600 more registered voters this year than there were in the beginning of September 2008 in those communities.
Voter registration deadline: Monday, Oct. 15
Last day to vote absentee in-person: Saturday, Nov. 3
Election Day: Tuesday, Nov. 6
Virginia voter registration card
Valid Virginia driver's license
Employer-issued photo ID card
Concealed handgun permit
Valid Virginia college ID
Medicare or Medicaid card
Current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck indicating the name and address of the voter
Social Security card
Contact your local registrar's office:
State Board of Elections Web site: sbe.virginia.gov.