Election board allows use of expired IDs


WHO’S THERE? Virginia’s State Board of Elections will allow expired photo IDs to be accepted at the polls.

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau

RICHMOND, Va. — A “tweak” in Virginia’s voter-identification law will allow expired photo IDs to be used at polling places on Election Day.

The decision by the State Board of Elections “nullifies legislative intent,” said state Sen. Tom Garrett, a Republican member of the Privileges and Elections Committee.

But SBE Secretary Don Palmer said the action — which eliminates the current 30-day limit on expired IDs — should not be considered controversial.

“We thought the law provided more flexibility. Thirty days was arbitrary,” Palmer told Watchdog.

Palmer added that a second layer of identification still requires voters to provide their full name and address to poll workers.

Christian Adams, an attorney with the national election-watch group True the Vote, said he was “not concerned” about the acceptance of expired ID cards.

The move isn’t unprecedented. North Carolina allows senior citizens to use expired photo IDs at the polls, said Jay DeLancy, executive director of that state’s Voter Integrity Project.

Reagan George, head of the Virginia Voters Alliance, called the SBE’s “tweak” troubling.

“I still carry my expired Texas driver’s license for sentimental reasons.If I was in Texas and still on the voter rolls I could vote,” he said.“The same applies to Virginia voters.”

In an email, Palmer noted, “The law separately requires the voter to orally state their name and current residence to the officer of election, who then repeats the information to observers. This separate process confirms the individual is voting at the correct precinct polling place.”

Palmer said the board is mailing free voter photo ID cards to Virginians who do not have other acceptable forms of photo ID. Addresses do not appear on the cards.

“The use of the photo ID is the gold standard in confirming the identity of the voter and is not to be used to confirm the address of the individual,” Palmer said.

The board also authorized temporary photo IDs for voters after the registration period closes.

Some local registrars worry that the temporary IDs could invite trouble by requiring them to be issued to late registrants within 21 days of an election.

Because applicants do not have to live in the county where they get their ID, “We won’t know who these people are,” says Louisa County General Registrar Cristy Watkins.

“We’ll be taking pictures for other localities, with no way to identify that voter,” she said.

Kenric Ward is a national correspondent for Watchdog.org and chief of its Virginia Bureau. Contact him at kenric@watchdogvirginia.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward