Opinions Differ on Changes to Va. Voter ID Law

By: Garrett Wymer Email
By: Garrett Wymer Email

WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) -- Three months until the polls open in Virginia and controversy is already brewing over recent changes to the commonwealth's new voter ID law.

As it stands now, this November, you will need a photo ID in order to vote.

Republican State Senator Mark Obenshain sponsored the voter ID law the general assembly passed last year.

"It is a simple law. It is a simple requirement. And it's a common sense measure," said Obenshain.

In June, the State Board of Elections decided to allow expired IDs at the polls; however, on Wednesday, the board clarified the policy to only allow IDs that have been expired for less than a year.

The ACLU of Virginia calls the board's decision "the latest blow to voting rights."

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Attorney General Mark Herring had said a portion of the language in the state's voter ID law could be unconstitutional.

"The Justice Department had 18 months to challenge this. They challenged other states' photo ID laws, but ours was carefully crafted so that it met constitutional standards," said Obenshain.

Waynesboro Registrar Lisa Wooten said, from her perspective, she hopes all the changes don't hold up the voting process, a responsibility that falls on the shoulders of poll workers.

"They've been accustomed to checking dates somewhat, but for the most part, it's a fast and easy process. So hopefully this won't be too burdensome on the election officials when they're working the polls," said Wooten.

If you do not have a photo ID, you can go to your local registrar's office and have one made for you, free of charge, so you can vote.

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