Voter Registrars Tackle New Voter ID Law

By: Newsplex
By: Newsplex

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Albemarle County Registrars spent two days in Richmond this week at an annual training session put on by the Virginia Department of Elections.

They discussed changes they are making to the voting process, and looked at the how those changes will impact voting experiences come November.

"The system for creating photo ID's at voter registration offices seems to be working very well. There haven't been a great flood of people who have come in and asked for them," said Albemarle County General Registrar Jake Washburne.

So far, Albemarle Co. has seen three people come in to sign up for the new voter photo ID, a number Washburne says is not surprising.

"One, it's kind of the middle of the summer and people aren't really thinking about elections. Two, it's a new law and people may not be aware of it and we certainly want to spread the word as best we can so that nobody gets caught short on election day," he says.

Voters aren't alone when it comes to getting adjusted to the new requirements, the county will have to train almost 300 election officers on the new acceptable forms of photo identification, a process that will start in early October.

Another law now in effect for exactly a year is getting positive reviews.

The Department of Elections says statewide voter online registration has been a success with tens of thousands of new voters signed up.

Voters won't have to sweat over many other changes this time around, but looking ahead to next year and beyond may be a different story as the county plans to switch from touch-screen voting machines to optical scanning machines.

Voters using the optical scanning machines will have to physically mark a cardstock ballot and then scan that paper into the actual machine.

"Right now in Albemarle County at our regular polling places we use touch-screen voting machines we're going to be transitioning over to optical scan voting machines sometime prior to the 2016 Presidential Election," says Washburne.

Acceptable forms of photo identification include a Virginia driver's license, or any other government-issued photo ID card, a Virginia college ID, a U.S. passport, an employee ID card or the new voter ID card.

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