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The State Board of Elections (SBE) was created in 1946 as a bipartisan agency responsible for ensuring uniformity, fairness, accuracy and purity in all elections in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The agency promotes the proper administration of election laws, campaign finance disclosure compliance, and voter registration processes in Virginia by promulgating rules, regulations, issuing instructions, and providing information to local electoral boards and general registrars. In addition, the agency maintains a centralized database of state-wide voter registration and election related data.
Virginia law requires all voters to provide an acceptable form of identification (ID) at the polls. Voters arriving to the polls without ID will be required to vote a provisional ballot and will have until noon on the Friday after the election to deliver a copy of identification to their locality's electoral board in order for their provisional ballot to be counted. Please see below in "Provisional Ballot Process for Voters Who Arrive Without Identification" for more information on how the provisional ballot process will work for those arriving to the polls without ID.
Virginia's ID requirements also apply to absentee voters who vote in-person. Please see below in "Special Federal ID Requirements for Certain First Time Voters" for other potential special cases for first-time voters in federal elections.
Important: Please note that there will be no changes to Virginia’s existing voter ID requirements until July of 2014. A law requiring photo identification at the polls was signed into law in May of 2013. This new photo identification requirement will not to take effect until July 1, 2014. The current law allows for the acceptance of all identification documents listed below.
Acceptable forms of identification include the following: (Download Chart)
Virginia voter registration card
Valid Virginia driver's license
Any Federal, Virginia state or local government-issued ID
Employer issued photo ID card
Concealed handgun permit
Valid student ID issued by any institution of higher education located in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck indicating the name and address of the voter
Social Security card (*please see below as the social security card does not satisfy special federal ID requirements)
A voter who does not bring an acceptable ID to the polls will be offered a provisional ballot.
Don't have one of these forms of ID?
All Virginia active registered voters will be mailed a new Virginia voter registration card prior to the November 2012 General Election. If you are not registered but are eligible for registration, please register today and a voter registration card will be mailed to you by your local general registrar's office after your application has been processed.
Provisional Ballot Process for Voters Who Arrive Without Identification
All active registered voters in Virginia will be mailed a new voter identification card prior to the November 2012 General Election. Voters without any other ID should bring this form of ID with them to the polls as this will satisfy the voter ID requirements for Virginia and federal law.
A voter who arrives at the polling place without an acceptable form of identification will be given the opportunity to vote a provisional ballot. After completing the provisional ballot, the individual voting will be given written instructions from the election officials on how to submit a copy of his/her identification so that his/her vote can be counted.
A voter will have until noon on the Friday following the election to deliver a copy of the identification to the local electoral board. Voters may submit a copy of their ID via fax, email, in-person submission, or through USPS or commercial delivery service. Please note that the copy of the ID must be delivered to the electoral board by noon on Friday, or the provisional ballot cannot be counted. A Friday postmark will not be sufficient if the copy of the ID is not delivered to the electoral board by noon on Friday.
The written notice given to the voter will provide the necessary information, including email, fax, and address of where the ID should be delivered.
Dos and Don't For Campaigners and Authorized Representatives
Special Federal ID Requirements for Certain First Time Voters
For persons who registered to vote in Virginia by mail, federal law requires them to show identification (ID) when voting (in-person or absentee) for the first time in a federal election if they did not send a copy of one of these IDs with their voter registration applications. Voters subject to this special ID requirement will have the phrase "First-time Federal" after the "ID Required" item in their on-line voter registration record. Any of the following types of ID are acceptable:
A current and valid photo ID (for example a driver's license);
or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck that shows name and address;
or another government document that shows name and address (for example a voter card).
This federal ID requirement applies the first time a person votes in any federal election, either on the day of the election or by absentee ballot. If the voter does not present one of these forms of ID at the polls, that person will be offered a provisional ballot that includes a voter information statement under felony penalty. This is a paper ballot that the local electoral board may count if the voter later provides the required identification. Such persons have the right to appear before the Electoral Board and can request an extension up to one day to present evidence. If the voter returns an absentee ballot by mail without a copy of one of these forms of ID, the absentee ballot will be treated as a provisional ballot and counted only if the voter provides a copy of ID to the electoral board by the deadline applicable to all voters.
Please remember that these requirements apply to first-time voters who are voting absentee by mail and in-person.
*Note: In nearly all cases, the Virginia identification requirements mirror and satisfy the federal ID requirements. However, a social security card does not satisfy the federal ID requirements, if you are a first-time voter who fits the criteria listed in this section. Please also remember that the federal ID requirements apply to both absentee voting and voting at the polling place on Election Day.