About 450,000 voters in Virginia may lack the proper identification needed to cast a ballot in the November midterm elections, the Virginia State Board of Elections said Thursday. Under a state law that took effect this year, Virginia voters must present a driver’s license or some other form of photo identification at their polling stations before they cast a vote. Although voters who lack such proof would be allowed to fill out provisional ballots on Nov. 4, election officials hope more people will obtain state ID cards or some other valid form of identification so that their votes could be more easily counted — particularly in the event of close contests.
“It’s so much easier if there’s a live vote,” said Cameron Quinn, the voter registrar in Fairfax County, where 13,690 registered voters lack state driver’s licences.
The Virginia law that was passed last winter is part of a tide of state “voter ID” laws enacted in recent years, generating 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. Of the 34 states that have passed laws requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls, Virginia has among the strictest rules.