When Virginia’s new voter identification law goes into effect statewide Tuesday, voting rights groups will monitor select polling places to help people comply with the rules, which are among the nation’s strictest. For years, voters have been required to provide identification at the polls, but this year — for the first time in Virginia — an ID with a photograph will be required. “We’re all very concerned about the implementation of the photo ID law across the state and whether or not voters have been educated about the fact that they need a photo ID to vote,” said Hope Amezquita, staff attorney and legislative council at the ACLU of Virginia.
Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of Virginia New Majority, said her organization plans to monitor 80 polling places. The Advancement Project, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the League of Women Voters are also part of the effort.
“Part of the reason we’re going to be out on Election Day is to see what the actual impact is on voters. At this point, we just don’t know,” Nguyen said.
Historically, turnout for midterm elections is lower than during presidential years, but voters in Virginia will cast ballots in crucial elections: a U.S. Senate race and in all 11 of Virginia’s congressional districts as well as for a long list of local contests.