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Virginians don’t have to show ID to vote anymore. Data shows almost everyone still does.

Voters at a polling station in Buckingham County, Va., November 3, 2020.
Voters at a polling station in Buckingham County, Va., November 3, 2020.(Parker Michels-Boyce / For the Virginia Mercury)
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 12:54 PM EDT
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Virginia’s laws have changed in many ways to make voting easier, but all voters are still asked to verify who they are when they go to the polls.

For most people, that means pulling out a driver’s license just like they did before the state changed last year to no longer require photo IDs. For others, it could be a utility bill, paystub or bank statement.

But under new voter ID rules approved by the Democratic-led General Assembly, voters with no identification can still cast a regular ballot, as long as they sign a form swearing they are who they say they are.

State officials don’t track how many people vote that way. But a Virginia Mercury review of data from some of the state’s biggest localities shows relatively few Virginians voted in the 2020 presidential election without showing an ID.

In the eight localities that provided numbers to the Mercury, a total of 796 people voted without showing ID, or about 0.04 percent of the nearly 1.8 million ballots cast in those localities.

While not comprehensive for the entire state, the eight localities accounted for about 40 percent of the 4.46 million votes Virginians cast in the 2020 election.

In Fairfax County, Virginia’s most populous locality, just 55 people cast ballots without showing ID. With 600,823 votes cast in Fairfax overall, that represents 0.009 percent of the county’s ballots.

Out of 127,109 ballots cast in the city of Chesapeake, no one voted without showing ID.

In Virginia Beach, 187 people voted without ID, or 0.08 percent of the city’s 227,561 ballots.

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