The state — not localities — will pick up the $1.4 million tab to send new cards to every register voter in the state.
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) ordered new cards sent Friday when he signed a controversial voter identification bill that critics say could disenfranchise the poor, minorities and young people.
The law, which goes into effect July 1, will require voters to show identification before their ballots are counted but also expands the forms of ID acceptable at the polls.
McDonnell issued an executive order directing the State Board of Elections to launch a public education campaign to raise awareness about the need to show identification.
Charles Judd, board chairman, said the cards will be sent after the U.S. Department of Justice grants the required approval of the new law. That means it will likely occur in the fall, after the June 12 Republican primary.
As of April, 4.7 million Virginians were registered to vote in the state. It costs about 29 cents to send each card, according to the governor’s office.