Registration deadline near for election
Posted: October 10, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election is less than a week away.
Eligible voters must register — either at their local registration office or by mail — no later than Monday.
Winchester residents can register at 107-A N. East Lane; Frederick County residents at 107 N. Kent St., Suite 102; and Clarke County residents at 101 Chalmers Court in Berryville.
All three offices are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Registration applications are also available on the State Board of Elections website at sbe.virginia.govand must be postmarked no later than Monday.
Virginia residents are eligible to cast a ballot as long as they are at least 18 years old on Election Day, are a U.S. citizen and have not declared mentally incompetent by a court of law. They also must not be registered and voting in another state, and if they have been convicted of a felony, must have had their right to vote restored.
Virginia enacted a new voter identification law this year that changes the rules for those who don’t have an ID when they arrive at the polls.
In the past, a person lacking a proper ID could still vote on a regular ballot by signing a statement affirming their identity.
Now, those without the proper paperwork will be given a provisional ballot, and will have until noon on Nov. 9 — the Friday after the election — to deliver an acceptable ID to their local registrar’s office, or their vote will not be counted.
Acceptable forms of ID are a voter registration card, ID card issued by a government agency, student ID card issued by an institute of higher learning in Virginia, a Virginia driver’s license, employee ID card containing a photo, concealed handgun permit, or a utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck showing the current name and address of the voter and not more than 30 days old as of Nov. 6.
A Social Security card can also be used in most cases, but not in the instance of a first-time voter registering by mail without including one of the other forms of ID.
After casting a provisional ballot, the ID can be emailed, sent by mail, faxed or delivered by hand.
State Republicans say the new law is to prevent fraudulent votes — although supporters could only produce a handful of cases where that happened over the years.
Democrats mostly opposed the law, with some arguing that it attempts to suppress voters — the elderly, minorities, poor and young people — who turned out in large numbers in 2008 to vote for President Barack Obama.
In the 2008 election, 4,575 ballots in the state were cast in which the voter signed an affidavit — about 0.12 percent of the total.
If the presidential and Senate races remain tight, the new law could mean that the outcome of the election will not be known for at least two-and-a-half days after Election Day until the provisional ballots are counted.
Gov. Bob McDonnell ordered the State Board of Elections to distribute new voter ID cards for every registered voter in the commonwealth before the election — at a cost of $1.36 million.
But nearly 500,000 voters are classified as inactive and won’t receive an ID card, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.
Those who haven’t received a voter registration card may have been moved to the inactive voter list. But they can contact their local registrar or the State Board of Elections.
Voters can also check their registration status at sbe.virginia.gov, at the registrar’s office or by calling the State Board of Elections at 800-552-9745.
Voters should make sure their registration information is up to date if they have changed addresses, married or changed their name. The information must be updated by Monday.
Virginia college students can register to vote where they attend school as long as they use their school residence as their permanent voting address. They should also use their school residence as their mailing address.
Those who wish to vote with an absentee ballot because they cannot make it to the polls on Nov. 6 can fill out an absentee voter application at their local registrar office or online at sbe.virginia.gov. Oct. 30 is the deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail and Nov. 3 is the last day to vote in person using an absentee ballot.
— Contact Conor Gallagher at email@example.com