May 18, 2012
Governor’s attempt to reduce impact of bill through executive order falls short
Richmond, VA — The ACLU of Virginia today expressed dismay at Governor Bob McDonnell’s signing of a new law requiring Virginia voters to produce proof of identification at the polls or cast a provisional ballot.
McDonnell had attempted to amend the bill after it passed the House and Senate by allowing registrars to use a signature match in lieu of identification to determine the legitimacy of ballots. But legislators rejected the governor’s amendment, leaving him with a choice of signing a bill he did not support or vetoing it.
Instead, the governor signed the bill and issued an executive order requiring new registration cards for all voters prior to the November elections and the collection of statistics to determine the impact of the bill on voters.
Critics of the bill, including the ACLU of Virginia, say that it will make voting more difficult in general and that it will have a disproportionate impact on minorities, the elderly and low-income persons, who are less likely to carry IDs. In addition, the bill’s sole purpose is to fight voter impersonation fraud in Virginia, which by all accounts does not exist.
“The bill is still a bad bill that has no purpose other than to make it harder for everyone to vote in Virginia, but especially minorities, the elderly and low-income persons.
“We know the governor didn’t like the bill, which only deepens our disappointment in his decision to sign it,” added Willis.
Under Virginia’s existing law, voters without ID at the polls are allowed to sign a form affirming their identity and then cast a regular ballot. It is a felony to lie on the form, and the penalty includes losing voting privileges for life without any possibility of reinstatement. There is no history of anyone using the affirmation of identity form to commit voter fraud. The new law takes effect July 1.
Contact: Kent Willis, Executive Director
PRESS RELEASES from Virginia State Board of Elections
June 7, 2012
For More Information:
State Board of Elections
RICHMOND, VA – At Tuesday’s Board meeting, the State Board of Elections (SBE) approved a comprehensive statewide voter education and outreach plan aimed at informing Virginia voters about upcoming changes to Virginia’s voter identification laws as we move towards the November election. The plan’s theme, “Are You Election Ready?”, will take a multi-faceted approach in reaching Virginia voters in all 134 localities throughout the Commonwealth on the voter identification changes and other important election information.
House Bill 9 and Senate Bill 1, Governor McDonnell issued
Executive Order No. 45 that directed SBE to develop an outreach plan
that will assist in the successful implementation of the legislation
and to ensure that it adds no “inconvenience, confusion, or hardship to
the Commonwealth’s voters.” The Board’s approval of that plan called
for in the Executive Order represents the official launch of SBE’s
and continuous communication with voters, coordination with
third-party stakeholders and local election officials, and continuous
outreach to the media, the State Board of Elections will disseminate
important information through a variety of mediums in order to ensure
that Virginia voters are election ready this November.
Voters should anticipate Public Service Announcements (PSAs) appearing statewide via newspaper, television and radio starting in early fall. Additionally, SBE will utilize its website and social media such as Twitter and Facebook to reach voters.
fall, the State Board will mail new voter registration cards to
all of Virginia’s approximately 4.7 million active registered voters.
SBE will communicate important election-related information to voters
in this mailing, including identification requirements and important
time of this release, State Board officials have begun to
accumulate a list of interested third-parties, expand the agency’s
media contact list, and develop Public Service Announcements. A copy of
the outreach plan may be found at the following link:
to partner with the State Board of Elections in its efforts
should contact the agency at 804.864.8901 or 1.800.552.9745.
October, 3, 2012
For More Information:
Richmond, VA- The State Board of Election (SBE) announced today the delivery of approximately 4.6 million registration cards mailed to registered voters over the past two weeks. SBE encourages voters who did not receive a voter registration card to review their registration record at www.SBE.Virginia.gov to ensure their information is up to date and note any changes to their polling place or precinct due to redistricting. Voters may also contact SBE at 1-800-552-9745 or their local general registrar to verify their registration information and speak to an official that will provide information on how voters can update their registration information, if necessary. A voter whose registration address is not current would likely have not received a voter registration card in the mail.
Voters who need to update their registration information have several options. A registration application is available at the State Board of Elections’ website for printing and mailing. Voters may also visit their local general registrar’s office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and other state designated voter registration agencies and apply to register to vote or update their registration information. Upon an approved registration application or change of registration address or name request, the voter’s local general registrar will mail the voter a new registration card. Virginians have until October 15, 2012 to update their registration information, if necessary, or if unregistered, apply to register to vote.
SBE wants to remind voters that several forms of ID are acceptable for use at the polls in addition to the voter registration card. Voters are also only required to provide one acceptable form of identification. Additional acceptable forms of ID include: Valid Virginia driver's license; Military ID; any Federal, Virginia state or local government-issued ID; an employer issued photo ID card; a concealed handgun permit; a valid student ID issued by an institution of higher education in Virginia; a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck displaying the name and address of the voter; and a Social Security card. Voters should visit
review the voter ID requirements, including special ID requirements
for some first time voters in a federal election who registered by mail.
November 1, 2012
State Board of Elections
For More Information: Nikki Sheridan
State Board of Elections Enters Home Stretch of Statewide “Are You Election Ready?” Campaign
Richmond, VA – With Election Day just days away, the State Board of Elections (SBE) enters the final stretch of a comprehensive statewide voter education and outreach campaign aimed at informing Virginia voters about recent changes to Virginia’s voter identification laws. In an effort to reach all 134 localities and five million registered voters, the “Are You Election Ready?” campaign divided the state into five regions where various forms of media were distributed including print, radio, billboards, bus shelters, bus ads and television through the Virginia Association of Broadcasters.
After signing House Bill 9 and Senate Bill 1, Governor McDonnell issued Executive Order No. 45 that directed SBE to develop an outreach plan to assist in the successful implementation of the legislation and to ensure that it adds no “inconvenience, confusion, or hardship to the Commonwealth’s voters.” The voter outreach campaign has educated voters about the changes to Virginia’s voter identification requirements and other important changes to the law impacting elections in Virginia, including provisional ballot procedures for voters who do not show an acceptable form of identification on Election Day.
The campaign includes partnerships with various community, civic, advocacy and church organizations across the state to reach the public through grassroots and grasstops initiatives, participation in community events and festivals, sporting events, collegiate activities, professional and organizational meetings. The State Board of Elections has worked with community and civic organizations across the state to ensure the public is well informed.
Social media has been critical in reaching voters through Facebook and Twitter with over 100,000 weekly impressions. Message points include acceptable forms of identification, the registration deadline, absentee voter awareness and other election-related information. Public Service Announcements (PSAs) have also appeared statewide via newspapers, radio, television and major sporting events including NASCAR races in Richmond and Martinsville which saw over 160,000 attendees.
The State Board of Election’s budget for this effort included a statewide media buy for print, radio and outdoor advertisements. “Grassroots outreach has been a major component of our effort to reach voters of all cultures and backgrounds. We’ve canvassed urban communities, remote and rural areas of Virginia as well as the high-density populated areas of Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and the City of Richmond,” said Secretary Don Palmer.
The campaign ads features photos of everyday citizens of various cultures and backgrounds holding signs representing the type of voter identification they will take to the poll. An extended list of acceptable forms of identification, reminders of important deadlines, absentee voting information, and the SBE website and phone number, are all included in campaign advertisements.
In late-September, SBE mailed new voter registration cards to all of Virginia’s approximately 4.7 million active registered voters. SBE communicated important election-related information to voters in that mailing, including identification requirements and important election deadlines.