Virginians who let their driver’s licenses, passports or other photo IDs expire will still get a chance to vote, as long as those documents aren’t too old. The State Board of Elections struck a compromise Wednesday between those who argued that an expired ID was not valid and those who said a photo ID should be valid no matter how long ago it expired. “The board tried to take a middle ground … we wanted to have a grace period,” said Secretary Don Palmer. It decided that photo IDs that expired within 12 months of an election day were valid for voting purposes, as long as they look genuine.
… Palmer proposed the 12-month grace period after reviewing photo ID laws in other states, particularly in Indiana where the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a 2005 voter ID law as valid and did not violate the Constitution by keeping anyone from equal access to the voting booth. Palmer said the board’s grace period was in line with Indiana’s. Other states have grace periods ranging from six days to five years, he added.
He said he hoped the measure would address Attorney General Mark Herring’s concerns over a proposal the board floated earlier this year that suggested a 30-day grace period. Still earlier, the board had proposed allowing any expired ID, as long as it was genuine and looked like the person presenting it.
Herring said he thought the board’s action Wednesday was appropriate. His concern with the 30-day proposal was over the way it defined valid documents generally as “having legal effect” or “being officially acceptable.” That opened the door to different interpretations by election officers, and risked treating some voters unequally and that violates the Constitution, he said.