In order to vote, Virginia residents will need an acceptable form of identification with them at the polls.
Virginia residents have one week left to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election.
Those who have previously registered to vote should receive a new voter card in the mail. Gov. Bob McDonnell in May signed an executive order requiring the state board of elections to issue new registration cards to every registered voter. The governor issued the order to ensure that every registered voter will have at least one form of acceptable identification under Virginia's new voter identification law.
McDonnell's order also required the state board to conduct an outreach campaign to educate voters about the controversial identification law.
The state board of elections announced Wednesday that about 4.6 million voter cards had been mailed to active registered voters in the previous two weeks. Voters who did not receive a voter registration card should review their registration record at the state board of elections website, www.SBE.Virginia.gov, to ensure their information is up to date and to find out if there are changes to their polling places or precincts because of redistricting.
Voters can contact the state board of elections at 800-552-9745, or their local general registrar, to verify their registration status or to update their information.
A voter registration card is just one of the forms of identification voters can present at the polls to comply with the new voter ID law. Voters also can comply by showing a driver's license or government-issued identification card; a utility bill, bank statement or government check with current name or address; or a valid student identification card from any state college.
A voter who comes to the polls without an acceptable form of identification can cast a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot would be counted if the voter can provide a copy of an approved identification by fax, email, in-person submission, or mail or commercial delivery by noon on the Friday after the election.
Roanoke Registrar Lavern Shepherd said her office has seen 2,557 new people register to vote this year through Wednesday. By comparison, her office processed 5,985 new voters in 2008.
Roanoke County Registrar Judy Stokes said that 1,366 new people registered to vote through Wednesday. In 2008 the office processed 3,841 new registrations, many of them in the final two weeks before the deadline.
Both registrars said there has been some confusion with voters who have received the new cards and are worried the state may be trying to deny their right to vote. In fact, the cards were issued to every active registered voter in an attempt to avoid problems stemming from the new identification law.
If you haven't received a new voter card in the mail, Stokes said, call your local registrar ahead of the Oct. 15 deadline.
Absentees voters can cast a ballot either by mail or in person.
For mail, the ballot must have arrived at registrar's offices by 5 p.m. Oct 30.
In-person absentee voting is already under way and ends the Saturday before the election. Registrar's offices around the state will be open on the two Saturdays before the election — Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 — for in-person absentee voting.
People can vote absentee for a series of reasons:
>> You are a student or student's spouse at an out-of-town school.
>> You plan to be out of town for business or vacation on Election Day.
>> You cannot go to the polls because of physical illness or disability.
>> You cannot go to the polls because you are the person responsible for the care of a sick or disabled family member unable to leave home.
>> You are confined to a penal institution for a reasons other than a felony conviction.
>> You are an electoral board member, a registrar, an officer of election or a custodian of voting equipment.
>> You are on active duty as a member of a U.S. uniformed service or the U.S. Merchant Marines, or the spouse or dependent residing with such an active duty member.
>> You are regularly employed in a business, profession, or occupation outside the continental limits of the United States, or you are the spouse or dependent residing with a person so employed.
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