On Thursday, the Virginia State Board of Elections announced that approximately 100,000 Virginia voters might be unable to cast a vote in the November midterm elections, due to the fact that they do not have the proper identification.
According to the Washington Post, a new law that went into effect in Virginia this year stated that, “Virginia voters must present a driver’s license or some other form of photo identification at their polling stations before they cast a vote.”
While voters can fill out provisional ballots on November 4, election officials hope the new law will convince citizens to pursue a form of state-issued identification, such as a driver’s license.
The Help America Vote Act requires identification for all first-time voters in the United States who register by mail. Eighteen states require no further identification, other than a registered voter’s card. While other states have various rules about the type of identification they require at the polls, Virginia is one of 34 states that require a photo ID issued by either the state or the federal government.
According to the Virginia State board, 457,931 residents in the state do not have a state-issued driver’s license, which is the most common form of identification.
The campaign manager for Fairfax County’s Supervisor Democrat John W. Foust, Shaun Daniels, said that the number of voters who wouldn’t be able to cast their vote was “definitely an issue.”
Daniels added, “You can tell the motivations by who is working to solve this and trying to educate people and who is not.”
According to a state attorney at Fair Elections Legal Network, Courtney Mills, the number of voters without a driver’s license is approximately 300,000 in Wisconsin, 500,000 in Pennsylvania, and 700,000 in Texas.
The Washington Post reported that the new laws in Virginia have generated “criticism from groups that argue that the laws unfairly target immigrants and low-income voters who are less likely to have a driver’s license or other form of photo ID,” and that out of the 34 states that have passed laws requiring voters identification, “Virginia has among the strictest rules.”