Making Democracy Work

Voter ID law in VA

The rules in Virginia

State Board of Elections changes the rules on what is a "valid" Photo ID. IDs that have expired more than 12 months ago will not be accepted.

Change in acceptable voter IDs, August 6, 2014

Richmond, VA + Voting rights advocates today strongly criticized a State Board of Elections' (SBE) move to change the rules defining a valid voter ID as a decision that will confuse and make it harder for some Virginians to vote. In the absence of Vice Chair Bowers, Chairman Judd and Secretary Palmer voted to revise previously adopted regulations governing valid IDs. The new language, introduced for the first time today, eliminates as valid for voting purposes any ID that has expired more than 12 months before Election Day.

Acceptable IDs

This November, Virginia voters will be required to present a photo ID in order to vote. Acceptable forms of ID for voting include:
  • A Virginia driver's license or other photo ID issued by Virginia
  • A United States passport
  • Any photo ID issued by the United States government
  • A student ID that has a photograph and was issued by any institution of higher learning in Virginia
  • An employee identification card that has a photograph

You should keep your voter registration card, which lists your polling place, but this card, which lacks a photo, is not an acceptable voter ID.

Where to get a voter ID

brochure: how to get a photo ID Any voter lacking one of the above forms of ID can obtain a free voter Photo ID from any local registrar's office. You can choose an office outside the county where you live. Your ID will be mailed to you, so apply at least 10 business days before the election.

Montgomery County: 755 Roanoke St, Christiansburg, 24073, (540) 382-5741

Floyd County: 100 East Main St, Room 302 Floyd, Virginia 24091, (540) 745-9350,

Giles County: 201 N Main St # 1, Pearisburg, VA 24134, phone 921-2802.

Pulaski County: 52 W Main St # 300, Pulaski, VA, (540) 980-7700

Roanoke County: 5204 Bernard Dr, Roanoke, VA 24018, (540) 772-7500

Comments on the changes

Several groups have expressed objections to the change in the rules so close to the time to vote.

"The Board's decision today makes it that much more difficult for voters to participate in our democracy," said Tram Nguyen, co-director of Virginia New Majority. "Our elections should be free, fair, and accessible. Needlessly restricting the forms of voting ID only makes it more difficult. Approximately 300,000 Virginia voters lack a DMV-issued ID. I am particularly concerned about the four upcoming special elections on August 19th, one of which will be subject to these new requirements. This last minute decision, just 13 days before the special election will only create more voter confusion for Virginians who may need to obtain a new ID in order to exercise their constitutionally-protected rights."

Anne Sterling, President the League of Women Voters of Virginia, also criticized the decision. "Since many forms of acceptable ID under the new photo ID law don't have an expiration date, it makes no sense to rule out some of the most common forms of ID simply because they're expired," said Sterling. "Changing the rules again this close to the election means voters and election officials will face new confusion over who can vote."

"Today's decision is extremely troubling. The Board has ignored the warning issued this week by the Attorney General's office and the hundreds of concerns voiced by the public," said Courtney Mills, Staff Attorney with the Fair Elections Legal Network. "Virginia voters deserve to be held to the same uniform standards to ensure equal access to voting. Unfortunately, this decision ensures that they will not."

Sources of information

For more information please contact:
Tram Nguyen, Virginia New Majority, 703-589-0925
Brian Devine, ProgressVA (434) 218-2113
election protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE

This press release was issued by ProgressVA, Virginia New Majority, Project Vote, Fair Elections Legal Network, and the League of Women Voters of Virginia