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September 12, 2012
Voting in Virginia: Be ready for new voter identification rules
Check your polling place and find your voter ID card
KING GEORGE, Virginia (STPNS) -- Virginia voters should be aware that changes were made to Virginiaís voter identification (ID) laws that went into effect over the summer.
They are not nearly as restrictive as some new voter ID laws in Pennsylvania and other states. But Virginia voters need to be prepared to meet the new requirements to provide an acceptable form of identification at the polls, and for in-person Ďearly votingí permitted under absentee voting regulations.
Voters who arrive at the polls on Election Day Nov. 6 without an acceptable form of ID will be required to vote a provisional ballot and will have until noon on the Friday after the election to deliver a copy of identification to their localityís electoral board in order for their provisional ballot to be counted.
It is suggested that you prepare in advance to have acceptable ID to avoid that complication.
NEW ID REQUIREMENTS
Acceptable forms of identification under Virginiaís new requirements for voter ID also apply to absentee voters who vote in-person prior to the Nov. 6 election. The acceptable forms of ID include the following:
-Virginia voter identification card
-Valid Virginia driverís license
-Any Federal, Virginia state or local government-issued ID
-Employer-issued photo ID card
-Concealed handgun permit
-Valid student ID issued by any institution of higher education located in the Commonwealth of Virginia
-Current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck indicating the name and address of the voter
-Social Security card (*Please note that the social security card does not satisfy special federal ID requirements for certain first-time voters.)
DONíT HAVE ONE OF THESE FORMS OF ID?
All Virginia registered voters will be mailed a new Virginia voter identification card prior to the November 2012 General Election.
When you get it, put it in your wallet or purse or a safe place to snatch up to take when you vote, either in-person absentee or on Election Day, Nov. 6.
If you are not registered but are eligible for registration, you are advised to register as soon as possible. A voter information card will be mailed to you by the general registrarís office after your application has been processed.
King George Registrar Lorrie Gump and her able staff are ready to assist you with eligibility questions regarding your voting status and current address on file. Or, they can assist you to register to vote and/or apply for an absentee ballot.
BE PREPARED: CHECK YOUR REGISTRATION AND POLLING PLACE
Voter ID is not the only hurdle voters should be prepared for in the upcoming election on Nov. 6.
If you have not voted in the last year, you are urged check your voter registration, since your polling place may also have been shifted.
Polling places were changed for numerous voters in King George last year due to population shifts in the county documented during the 2010 Census.
Election district lines were redrawn for both local and for state elections, resulting in polling place changes for numerous county voters. The stateís redrawing of boundary lines for Virginiaís Senatorial Districts affected King George in a big way, giving representation by a second state senator to a segment of county voters.
If your polling place had changed you would have received a new voterís card a year ago, if your actual physical address is on file and not only a Post Office Box, if you have not moved in the last few years, and if not lost in the mail.
VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS
You can check your voter registration status and voting precinct either online or by calling the King George Registrarís office.
To check your registration status, address on file and polling place online, go to the Virginia Board of Elections website www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/Voter_Information/Index.html. Click on ďVoter Registration Status.Ē
The page will request either your voter ID number OR your locality. You can use the drop-down menu provided to indicate King George, then fill in the rest of the information for name and address and last four digits of your Social Security number.
Clicking the Ďfindí button will tell you everything you need to know. If you are registered, all the information you need will be shown. If you are not registered, get thee to the Registrarís office or you may register online at the same state website.
ABSENTEE VOTING IN PERSON STARTING SEPT. 24
Virginiaís ID requirements also apply to absentee voters who vote in-person ahead of the election.
If youíve decided forwhom youíll vote in the Presidential election and all the other state and federal elections, along with a decision on two proposed amendments to the Virginia Constitution, you may cast your vote early, beginning on Sept. 24 if you are eligible to vote absentee.
(Actually the ballots may be available a few days prior, with the Registrarís office busy mailing them out by Sept. 21 to military personnel whoíve applied for absentee ballots.)
There are numerous reasons that make voters eligible to vote absentee. Absentee voting is an effective choice for those who expect to be out of the county on Election Day for any reason, in addition to those who are on travel, or have long commutes.
Absentee voting can be done in one of two ways, either by mail or in-person at the Registrarís office. The simplest way to vote absentee in advance of the election is to go to the King George Registrarís office. There you may fill out an application for absentee voting, then vote then and there on the spot. Any King George voter with a question about whether they qualify to vote absentee should contact the Registrarís office, 775-9186.
The Registrarís office is located on the ground floor of the Revercomb Building, behind the King George Courthouse on Route 3 (Kings Hwy.). The Registrarís office is open on week days from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
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