New voter ID law official - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

New voter ID law official


If you're planning on voting this fall, you'll need to bring an ID. The Department of Justice has okayed Virginia's new voter ID law.

The Department of Justice says this new law does not violate the Voting Rights Act. Gone are the days when people without ID could just sign a document swearing they are who they claim to be.  Now you have to prove it.

New voter ID requirements sparked controversy here in Virginia and in other states passing new laws. Now Virginia's new law is official.

University of Richmond Political Science Professor Dan Palazzolo says the new law probably won't have as big an impact as some think.

"Most people will bring identification with them to the polls," Palazzolo said. "If you've voted before in Virginia, they've always asked for identification anyway. The only difference is this year if you don't have it, you'll have to cast a provisional ballot."

If you're one of those people who has to cast a provisional ballot - you'll have three days to show ID and have your vote counted.

You don't even have to show it in person - you can fax, mail or email your proof of ID. You do not need a photo ID either. Student IDs, utility bills, bank statements, even paychecks with your name and address will work.

"Virginia has taken a modest step in the direction of ensuring that every ballot is cast belongs to the person that cast it," Palazzolo said.

It's no secret both presidential campaigns are competing heavily to win Virginia. Campaigns often spend an enormous amount of time trying to get out the vote. Now they'll have to give voters another reminder.

"In addition to 'don't forget to vote', they're going to say, 'don't forget to bring your identification'," he said.

Voter registration cards will also be accepted on Election Day.

Governor Bob McDonnell has ordered the state Board of Elections to send every registered voter a new voter card. 

Political experts say even if more voters show up without ID and cast provisional ballots - those votes are unlikely to change the outcome of the presidential race. In Virginia, only 4500 provisional ballots were cast in 2008 and that's out of more than 3 million total votes. 

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