Virginia’s reputation as a “battleground” state in the presidential election is well-deserved and hard-earned. Much of Virginia’s economy depends on federal government contractors and Department of Defense installations all over the Commonwealth, a symbiotic relationship that has great import for our future here in Northern Virginia. But Virginia can’t be a battleground state without the involvement of voters, those citizens who treasure the opportunity to vote, and do so seriously and with forethought.
Some of that forethought is needed now, as confusion about the kind of identification documents and recent changes to voting laws make headlines in Virginia and in other jurisdictions around the country. The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area (LWVFA), a non-profit, non-partisan, and non-gender (men may join LWVFA, too) membership organization, with headquarters here in Mason District, has developed a voter information card that clarifies requirements to vote in Virginia on November 6. The following information is excerpted from the LWFVA information card.
To vote in Virginia, you must be registered to vote (last date to register is October 15), and you must have identification, but you don’t need a photo ID to vote. In Virginia, the following types of identification are acceptable to vote: Virginia voter ID card; valid Virginia driver’s license; military ID; any federal, state and local government-issued ID card; valid student ID issued by any higher education institution in Virginia; valid employer-issued photo ID card; concealed handgun permit; current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck showing the voter’s name and address; Social Security card (may not satisfy special federal ID requirements).
All registered voters should expect to receive a new voter identification card from the Virginia State Board of Elections between now and early October. If you believe that you are registered to vote, and do not receive a new voter ID card in the mail, call the Fairfax County Office of Elections at 703/222-0776. Persons living in other jurisdictions should call their own Office of Elections. As noted above, the last day to register in Virginia is Monday, October 15, so if you do not receive a voter registration card in the next two weeks or so, there will still be time for you to re-register.
In-person absentee voting will be held at the Mason District Governmental Center – 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale — from Wednesday, October 17, through Saturday, November 3. The satellite, or absentee, polling places will be open from 2 until 8 p.m., Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The satellite polls are closed on Sundays.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 6. Polls in Virginia are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Please double-check your new voter registration card to ensure that your name and address are correct, and that you know where your regular polling place is located, since some precinct boundaries, and polling places, changed in last year’s redistricting. Virginia may be a battleground state, but nobody should have to fight over boundaries, or ID, on Election Day.
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at [email protected]