IS IT VALID?: Virginia election officials are trying to decide if an expired photo identification is valid at the polls.
By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
RICHMOND, Va. — A battle over what constitutes a “valid” voter ID has gone online — and the loosest interpretation is winning.
The public has until 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 4 to post online comments on this state Department of Elections website.
The State Board of Elections last month pulled back a controversial policy that would have allowed expired photo identifications to be accepted at polling places.
But since initial pushback from election-watch activists, citizen comments have supported the SBE’s more open stance.
Wrote Julie Emery: “If the only purpose of a photo ID is to verify that you are who you say you are, and if the state issued ID has nothing but your name and photo, I don’t understand why you would not accept an expired ID.
“Identity does not have an expiration.”
David Bjerke, general registrar in heavily Democratic Falls Church, wrote: “The current code already makes expiration irrelevant: ‘Other data contained on the document, including but not limited to expiration date, shall not be considered in determining the validity of the document.’”
Those views are not unanimous, however.
Robert Martin, who describes himself as “a chief election officer,” stated: “Expired passports, driver’s license etc., should NOT be accepted as valid IDs. Try going to the U.S. border and present an expired passport to enter Canada or Mexico and you will be turned away.”
Edgardo Cortes, commissioner of the state Department of Elections, told Watchdog.org his agency drafted a policy based on the SBE’s recommendations.
“We have no recommendation now,” he said.
SBE is expected to reconsider the issue at its Aug. 6 meeting.
Kenric Ward is a national correspondent for Watchdog.org and chief of its Virginia Bureau. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward