Va. Board of Elections to Re-evaluate Voter ID Rule

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June 25, 2014

RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) — The State Board of Elections plans to re-evaluate its definition of a valid identification under Virginia's new voter ID law after a state lawmaker raised concerns about the rule.

On June 10, the board determined that expired but otherwise valid forms of identification will be accepted at the polls. Board members voted Tuesday to reconsider the regulation and reopen the public comment period for 21 days. The board plans to study whether it has the authority to determine what forms of ID are valid, media outlets reported.

"What we are after is to find out if this person representing themselves at the polls is who they say they are," said Chairman Charles Judd. "Then we have achieved what we need to achieve."

State Senator Mark D. Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, asked the board last week to reconsider the regulation. In a letter to the board, Sen. Obenshain said he is concerned that its definition of "valid" conflicts with state law.

"The Code of Virginia requires that a voter shows a valid Virginia identification card. The state board, by regulation, now defines expired IDs — regardless of how much time has transpired since their expiration — as being expressly 'valid,' which, to my thinking, violates the plain meaning of the statute," Obenshain wrote.

The board also received a letter from 18 Democratic state senators voicing support for the regulation.

"Reopening discussion on an already finalized regulation is an inefficient use of the already limited time to finalize plans before implementation of the new voter ID law," the senators' letter states.

Obenshain sponsored the voter ID law, which goes into effect July 1. Under the new law, documents that do not contain a photograph of the voter are no longer acceptable forms of identification when an individual is voting in person.

Board members had heard concerns that an expired driver's license or passport might be the only photo identification possessed by some voters, especially the elderly.

Judd said the current regulation will remain in place until after the next public comment period ends.

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