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Are Voter ID Laws Dead? That Depends.
09/29/16 |
Publication Date: 
Saturday, October 1, 2016 - 00:00

[A]fter eight years of litigation and study, the evidence of in-person voter fraud is still scant. The courts in Texas and North Carolina held that even if lawmakers were concerned about voter fraud, the laws they enacted were not tailored to fight it effectively. The courts ruled that the forms of ID lawmakers chose as acceptable weren’t necessarily the most secure kinds, and noted that legislators opted not to include other forms of state-issued identification, such as student or public assistance IDs, that were just as secure. ...

For now, though, it appears that people who turn up to the polls in North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas and many other voter ID states won’t be turned away if they don’t have an ID on them. They will be able to cast a provisional ballot or sign an affidavit attesting to who they are. This situation does not satisfy either side in the larger dispute, but at the moment it appears to be the national norm. That is, of course, until and unless the Supreme Court steps in.

UPDATE: Judge orders investigation into allegations of DMV non-compliance in Voter ID case
09/30/16 |
Publication Date: 
Friday, September 30, 2016 - 18:45

VoteRiders, a national group aimed an ensuring no one is denied a ballot due to Voter ID laws, sent volunteers and staffers into ten DMV offices around the state and said employees at only three of them gave the proper information to voters trying to obtain an ID without a birth certificate. ...

Under Judge Peterson's original ruling on the case filed by One Wisconsin Institute, the State of Wisconsin must issue a receipt to any person who enters the IDPP process, which would be then be valid for voting in the November election.

But Molly McGrath, the national campaign coordinator for VoteRiders, supplied audio to 27 News that shows that process was not followed in at least one instance. ...

McGrath said it is imperative the state soon comes up with a corrective course of action.

"And one reason I'm really concerned is because I'm working with at least three or four voters right now who are eligible to vote in Wisconsin, but don't have a birth certificate. And I don't know what to tell them," said McGrath.

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Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

More Info On Student Voting

Virginia Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8

  • Voter Registration Deadline: October 17

For more information, visit the Virginia State Board of Elections website.

Please note that the information in the sections below has not been updated, and refers to the 2015 general election.

6 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.

Registration Deadlines

2015 Primary Election: May 18, 2015

2015 General Election: October 13, 2015

Voters must register 22 days before a primary or general elections, and 14 days before a special election.

Printed Voter Registration Form

Online Voter Registration System

How to Check Your Registration Status

To verify your registration status, check the Virginia Election and Registration Information System (VERIS) on the Virginia Board of Elections website.

Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

Identification Required for Registration

Identification is not required of voters registering in person, although the Virginia Voter Registration Form requires the applicant's social security number.  If an applicant does not provide his/her social security number, the application for voter registration will be denied.

If registering for the first time by mail, a voter must provide a copy of identification including:

  • Current and valid photo ID;
  • Current utility bill;
  • Bank statement;
  • Government check;
  • Paycheck; or
  • Other government document.  

However, a voter may also present this identification upon voting for the first time.

If You Want to Vote Early

Virginia offers in-person absentee voting.  Starting 45 days before the election and ending at 5:00 pm on June 6, 2015 for the primary election and on October 31, 2015 for the general election a voter may apply for an absentee ballot in-person at the registrar's office and apply for an absentee ballot per the above parameters, and vote in-person at the office.

Check with your county registrar's office for hours of operation and locations for in-person absentee voting.  Check here.

If You Want to Vote Absentee

The following registered voters may vote by absentee ballot in any election in which they are qualified to vote:

  • Any person who, in the regular and orderly course of his business, profession, or occupation or while on personal business or vacation, will be absent from the county or city in which he is entitled to vote;
  • Any person who is:
    • a member of a uniformed service of the United States, on active duty;
    • a member of the merchant marine of the United States;
    • who temporarily resides outside of the United States;
    • the spouse or dependent residing with any person listed in the first three bullets; and
    • who will be absent on the day of the election from the county or city in which he is entitled to vote.
  • Any student attending a school or institution of learning, or his spouse, who will be absent on the day of election from the county or city in which he is entitled to vote;
  • Any person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of election because of a  disability, illness or pregnancy;
  • Any person who is confined while awaiting trial or for having been convicted of a misdemeanor, provided that the trial or release date is scheduled on or after the third day preceding the election.  Any person who is awaiting trial and is a resident of the county or city where he is confined shall, on his request, be taken to the polls to vote on election day if his trial date is postponed and he did not have an opportunity to vote absentee;
  • Any person who is a member of an electoral board, registrar, officer of election, or custodian of voting equipment;
  • Any duly registered person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of the election because he is primarily and personally responsible for the care of an ill or disabled family member who is confined at home; 
  • Any duly registered person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of the election because of an obligation occasioned by his religion;
  • Any person who, in the regular and orderly course of his business, profession, or occupation, will be at his place of work and commuting to and from his home to his place of work for eleven or more hours of the thirteen that the polls are open (6:00 AM to 7:00 PM); or
  • Any person who is a law-enforcement officer; firefighter; volunteer firefighter; search and rescue personnel or emergency medical services personnel.

Rules and Deadlines:

Completing an absentee ballot application:  Virginia law prescribes that Applications for absentee ballots shall be obtained in person at your local election board office or online.


An application completed in person shall be made not less than three days prior to the election in which the applicant offers to vote and completed only in the office of the local general registrar.  The applicant shall sign the application in the presence of a registrar or the secretary of the electoral board.  An in person application to vote absentee may be made/submitted up to 3 days before the election in which the applicant wishes to vote.

Note: for first time voters, absentee ballots cannot be issued until the applicant has registered for 5 days (there is an exception for military and overseas voters).

By mail, e-mail, or fax

Applications can be made by mail, electronic or by fax, if one is available to the office of the local general registrar.  If a fax device is not available locally, contact the State Board of Elections.  The application shall be sent to the appropriate local general registrar not later than 5:00 PM (EST) on the Tuesday prior to the election.  

To track your absentee ballot, click here.

Absentee ballots must be returned to the Election Board by 7:00pm on Election Day.

Emergency Absentee Voting

Incapacity with Designated Representative


  • Voter became ill or incapacitated on or after the 7th day preceding the election;
  • Voter became hospitalized on or after the 14th day preceding the election, but still in hospital and condition has made unable to request an absentee ballot earlier than the 7th day before an election;
  • Bereaved by a “family member” as defined by 24.2-705.1(2); or
  • Other comparably incapacitating emergency found by the Electoral Board to justify providing an emergency ballot application.

Voter Requirements:

  • Designated representative may request through the day before the election;
  • Completed application must be delivered back to the local registrar’s office by 2 p.m. the day before the election; and
  • Voted ballot must be returned before polls close on election day (exception allows designated representative to return the voted ballot).

Voter Plans Change After Noon Saturday


  • Late Assignment of an Election Officer, or
  • Required emergency Travel for Business, Hospitalization or Death in Immediate Family.

Voter Requirements:

  • Apply and vote in person by 2 p.m. on the day preceding the election.

Virginia’s new voter identification requirements are now in effect.

To vote on Election Day in 2015, an individual must present one of the following items at his or her polling place:

  • Valid Virginia Driver’s License or Identification Card*;
  • Valid Virginia DMV issued Veteran’s ID card*;
  • Valid United States Passport*;
  • Other government-issued photo identification cards (must be issued by US Government, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a political subdivision of the Commonwealth;
  • Valid college or university student photo identification card (must be from an institution of higher education located in Virginia)*;
  • Employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer’s business; or
  • Virginia Voter Photo ID Card obtained through any local general registrar’s office.

*Valid forms of identification include those which are current or have expired within the preceding 12 months.

The State is also attempting to provide voters who lack any of these forms of identification with a free voter identification card.  If you need identification, please call 866-OUR-VOTE.

If a voter does not have any of the above forms of identification at the polls, he or she must still be permitted to cast a provisional ballot.

If you have moved to another precinct in Virginia, you have the right to vote in the following November election and any intervening election at the polling place for your last address, unless your registration has been transferred or cancelled.  

Persons moving from the state within 30 days of a presidential election are entitled to vote in the precinct in which they were previously registered (immediately prior to moving) for presidential electors only.  You must mark your absentee ballot application with the words "APPLY FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ONLY" and indicate the date you moved from the precinct.  If returning to your old precinct to vote in person, you must tell the election official, before voting, that you have moved out of state within the 30 days prior to the election.  Whether voting by absentee ballot or in person, you will only be given the ballot for presidential and vice-presidential electors.

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), also known as Standard Form 76, to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) Virginia-specific FPCA page.

Military and overseas citizens can send and receive voting materials by fax and email.  If you wish to use the fax or email options, you must indicate this on your FPCA.  Instructions for doing so are found on the FVAP's Virginia-specific FPCA page.

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if they are concerned with receiving their printed ballot and returning it by the 7:00 p.m., Election Day deadline.  The FWAB is a blank ballot on which voters write-in their choices.  The FWAB may also be used to register to vote and to apply for the absentee ballot, all in one step.  If the FWAB is being used to register to vote, it must be received by the voter registration deadline.  For specific instructions, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's Virginia-specific FWAB page.

In order to be eligible for restoration of rights by the Governor, an applicant must:

  • Must be a resident ofVirginia, and/or have been convicted of a felony in aVirginiacourt, a U.S. District court or a military court;
  • Be free from any sentence served or supervised probation and parole for a minimum of two years for a non-violent offense or five years for a violent felony or drug distribution, drug manufacturing offense, any crimes against a minor, or an election law offense;
  • Have paid all court costs, fines, penalties and restitution and have no felony or misdemeanor charges pending;
  • Not have had a DWI in the five years immediately preceding the application; and
  • Not have any misdemeanor convictions and/or pending criminal charges 2  years preceding the application for non-violent felonies or five years for a violent felony or drug distribution, drug manufacturing offense,  any crimes against a minor, or an election law offense.

For more information, visit the Secretary of State's website.



Top Issues to Field

For more information for voters with disabilities, visit the National Disability Rights Network’s voting resource center.

For more information for student voters, visit the Virginia Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

2016 Election Information for your state