New voting laws will impact upcoming November election

New laws approved by the Governor and General Assembly will affect the November, 2012 election, according to Kristin Hicks, General Registrar for Westmoreland County.

“The better educated the voter is, the easier the election will be for everyone,” said Hicks.

While a photo ID is not required, voters will have to provide an ID in order to vote at the poll booth.  Acceptable forms of ID include: Voter Registration Card; Social Security Card; valid Virginia Driver’s License; valid student ID card issued by an institute of higher education located in Virginia; valid employee ID card containing a photo; current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck that shows the name and address of the voter, or; a concealed handgun permit.

If a person does not have a valid ID, they will have to cast a Provisional Ballot.  A Provisional Ballot is a written ballot which is returned to the Westmoreland County Electoral Board for verification of eligibility to vote.  The voter has until noon on the third day after the election to provide proper ID in order for their vote to count.

“In the past, a voter could sign an Affirmation of Identity and still vote.  This provision has been eliminated,” Hicks said.  “We are asking voters to remember to bring their ID with them to the polling location.  It will be a busy election, so the lines will move much faster if everyone has their ID”.

Because of the 2011 redistricting, some polling locations have changed since the last presidential election.  All registered voters were mailed a new card last year.

“It is important to remember that if you move, you must notify the Voter Registration Office of your new address,” Hicks said. “We had a huge number of voter cards returned to us as undeliverable, so some people have been placed on inactive status.”

The State Board of Elections is sending out new cards again this September.

“If you haven’t received a new card by the end of September, contact our office to make sure your information is correct,” Hicks added.

The deadline for registering to vote in the November, 2012 election is Oct. 15.  After that date, no new applications will be processed until after the election.  Voters unable to go to the polls on Election Day must apply for an Absentee Ballot by mail no later than Oct. 30, or in person no later than Nov. 3.  Absentee voting begins on Sept. 21.

For more information or questions, contact Hicks at (804) 493-8898 or email govote193@verizon.net.

Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm