Virginia voter ID law does not apply to Tuesday’s primary election

Ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Virginia elections officials are reminding voters that the state’s new voter ID law will not yet be in effect.

Under a law passed this year by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), voters will have to provide identification before their votes will be counted. But that law does not take effect until July 1.

The State Board of Elections issued a reminder in response to a news item, posted on a Richmond-area television station’s Web site, that reported incorrectly that the law would apply to the primary.

“Rumor Buster,” read the title on the board’s news release, which noted that the news item also stated incorrectly that the new law requires voters to provide a photo identification. A photo ID will not be required even when the law takes effect.

Under the law, which will apply to the Nov. 6 general election, voters will be required to show one of the following: a state voter registration card; a Social Security card; a valid Virginia driver’s license; other state, local or federal identification; a valid student identification card issued by a Virginia institution of higher learning; a valid employee identification card; a current utility bill; a current bank statement; a current government check; a paycheck that shows the name and address of the voter; or a concealed-handgun permit.


In this 2011 file photo, former Virginia governors Tim Kaine, left, and George Allen, also a former senator, greet each other in Richmond. (Steve Helber/AP)

After July 1, any voter who goes to the polls without one of those forms of identification will have to cast a provisional ballot. The voter must provide ID to the local electoral board by noon the Friday after the election before the vote will be counted.

Since those rules do not apply to the primary, voters without ID will be allowed to cast regular ballots after signing an affidavit swearing that they are who they say they are.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.
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