Your Vote's Safety in Virginia
Voter Laws and Registration Deadlines
- Be a citizen of the United States
- Be a resident of Virginia and of the precinct in which you want to vote
- Be 18 years old by the next election
- Not have been convicted of a felony, or have had your civil rights restored
- Not currently be declared mentally incompetent by a court of law
- STRICT PHOTO ID REQUIRED — Voters must present government-issued photo ID at the polls or other ID, including Social Security, government, private employer or university ID cards, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck that shows the name and address of the voter. Voters without photo ID may cast provisional ballots that would not be counted unless voter provides photo ID or non-photo ID — such as a college ID, utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck, voter registration card, Social Security card or private workplace ID — by noon Friday following a Tuesday election.
Gov. Bob McDonnell signed laws in March 2013 requiring photo IDs for voters in elections beginning July 1, 2014, eliminating non-photo IDs, and harmonizing ID requirements for state and federal elections. The State Board of Elections is required to provide free photo IDs for voting purposes. Accepted forms of ID under the new laws include a Virginia driver's license, a U.S. passport or any other photo ID issued by the United States, Virginia or one of its political subdivisions, a student ID issued by any institute of higher learning in Virginia or any employee identification card.
For persons who registered to vote in Virginia by mail, federal law requires them to show 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.
- NO Early Voting
Registration Deadline: 22 days before the election
State Election Information
State Legislature Page
ACRU's Charles Cooper Sues Virginia Gov. McAuliffe over Felon Voting
Virginia Assembly Republicans Sue Governor over Felon Voting
No Voters Denied Due to Photo ID Law, former Virginia Officials Testify
Virginia Voter Photo ID Law Challenged in Court
Virginia County Registrar Threatened with Lawsuits over Refusal to Clean Up Voter Rolls
News & Commentary
Voter ID Laws Balance Risk of Fraud, Barring People from Polls | 06/21/16
Voter ID laws are now active in 33 of the 50 U.S. states, covering about 60 percent of the population. Since President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, 11 states have enacted identification requirements for voting. The rules in those states range from strictly asking for photo IDs such as a driver's license to simpler documents such as a paycheck.
Proponents say the laws prevent voter fraud and give the public more confidence in the process.
"Voter ID can prevent and deter impersonation fraud, voting under fictitious voter registrations, double voting by individuals registered in more than one state, and voting by illegal aliens," Don Palmer, a former election official in Virginia and Florida, wrote in a Heritage Foundation report.
Palmer argued that those who oppose the laws exaggerate the number of people who are affected, and that those assertions inhibit the national debate.
Read more at Voice of America.
Terry McAuliffe vs. the Rule of Law | 06/06/16
By Charles J. Cooper
Virginia's Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently signed an executive order restoring, with the stroke of a pen, the right to vote for all 206,000 Virginia felons who have completed their terms of incarceration and supervised probation. This includes more than 40,000 felons convicted of violent crimes. The order also restores the rights to serve on a jury and to seek and hold public office, and it makes each of them eligible to ask a court to restore their right to own and carry firearms.
The sweeping order has no precedent in Virginia history, and last week Virginia's Republican House Speaker William J. Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. and four other state voters filed a challenge to its constitutionality. Their petition asks the Virginia Supreme Court to invalidate the governor's order before votes are cast in November, lest the validity of the general election be cast into doubt. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the state's high court issued an order on June 1 calling a special session of the court to hear argument in the case on July 19.
The executive order defies the text of the Virginia Constitution. Article II flatly prohibits all felons from voting, but it grants the governor a narrow power to restore voting rights to deserving felons on an individual, case-by-case basis. Nothing in the constitution gives the governor power to restore political rights en masse to virtually all felons, no matter how heinous or numerous their crimes.
Gov. McAuliffe, a Democrat, has acknowledged that for 240 years none of the state's 71 other governors exercised wholesale clemency power. In 2010 another Democratic governor, Tim Kaine, expressly declined to issue a blanket restoration order like Gov. McAuliffe's, concluding that such an order would "rewrite" the law rather than follow it. Three years later, a bipartisan committee convened and headed by Virginia's then-attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, advised Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell that a blanket order restoring voting rights would be unconstitutional.
Gov. McAuliffe has attempted to justify his order by claiming that Virginia's felon-disenfranchisement provision was introduced into the Constitution after the Civil War in a racist effort to disenfranchise African-Americans. He told the Nation magazine in April that "in 1901 and 1902 they put literacy tests, the poll tax and then disenfranchisement of felons into the state's constitution."
This is not true. The prohibition on felon voting dates back to 1830--a time when African-Americans were prohibited from voting altogether. The felon disenfranchisement provision could not have been introduced for the purpose of disenfranchising them. No wonder the federal courts have uniformly rejected the claim that Virginia's prohibition on felon voting discriminates on the basis of race.
Read more of ACRU Policy Board member Charles J. Cooper's Wall Street Journal article.
ACRU's Charles Cooper Sues Virginia Gov. McAuliffe over Felon Voting | 05/24/16
By Robert Knight
The Democrat felon voting express train in Virginia hit a sharp curve on Monday when Republican lawmakers went to the state's highest court to derail it.
Constitutional attorney Charles J. Cooper's law firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of Republican leaders in the Virginia legislature asking the state Supreme Court to block 206,000 felons from voting in November.
The lawsuit Howell v. McAuliffe states that Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe abused the separation of powers in an April 22 executive order that gives a blanket restoration to convicts who've completed their sentences.
McAuliffe is countermanding longtime policy, in which Virginia's governors have restored voting rights by individual cases, the suit states. The felons who received the blanket amnesty include inmates convicted of rape, murder, and other major offenses.
It's worth noting that McAuliffe, who served as a fundraiser for Bill and Hillary Clinton, ignored the fact that his two predecessors, Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Bob McDonnell, both attempted blanket amnesty for some felons but abided by opinions from state attorneys general ruling this out as unconstitutional.
The current hyper-partisan attorney general, Democrat Mark Herring, who refused to defend the state's constitutional marriage amendment, has no such qualms, which is why the GOP leaders resorted to the lawsuit.
"In his blanket restoration, the Governor didn't consider the violence of the offense, the number of offenses, or whether the offender has paid his victim's medical bills," said a press release from Virginia 58th District delegate Rob Bell. "The executive order covers felons who are still on unsupervised probation. It makes 40,000 violent felons eligible to sit on juries, and is already being used by a defendant accused of murdering a state trooper to demand that these felons be included in his jury pool."
Read more of ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight's AmericanThinker.com article.
Virginia Assembly Republicans Sue Governor over Felon Voting | 05/23/16
Virginia Republicans on Monday asked the state's highest court to block more than 200,000 felons from voting in November, arguing that Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe abused his power by restoring the voting rights of thousands of convicts who've completed their sentences.
In a lawsuit GOP leaders filed in the Virginia Supreme Court, they say McAuliffe violated the separation of powers by effectively suspending the state's ban on voting by felons. They say McAuliffe is ignoring decades of practice, which has made clear that governors can restore voting rights only on a case-by-case basis.
"Gov. McAuliffe's executive order defines the plain text of the Constitution, flouts the separation of powers, and has no precedent in the annals of Virginia history. The governor simply may not, with the stroke of the pen, unilaterally suspend and amend the Constitution," their lawyers wrote in the suit.
The lawsuit is being brought by House Speaker William Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment along with four other Virginia voters.
They're asking the justices to prohibit election officials from registering felons and to cancel all such registrations since April 22. As of last week, election officials said nearly 4,000 felons had signed up to vote, media outlets reported.
Read more at NewsMax.
Virginia Gov. McAuliffe Breaks the Constitution to Plump the Democratic Vote | 04/25/16
By Hans von Spakovsky
In what is likely an unconstitutional state action seemingly calculated to ensure that the purple state of Virginia goes blue in the November election, Governor Terry McAuliffe (D.) signed an order on Friday restoring the voting rights of 206,000 ex-felons in Virginia, including those convicted of murder, armed robbery, rape, sexual assault, and other violent crimes.
The order also restores their right to sit on a jury, become a notary, and even serve in elected office. McAuliffe believes that ex-felons can be trusted to make decisions in the ballot booth and the jury box but apparently not to own a gun. He draws the line at restoring their Second Amendment rights; that would be a bridge too far. His order specifically does not restore their "right to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms."
And while his order requires that felons complete probation and parole before enjoying restoration of their rights, it applies regardless of whether they have paid any court fines or restitution to victims. What McAuliffe entirely dismisses is the principle that if you won't follow the law yourself, you can't demand a role in making the law for everyone else, which is what you do when you vote.
Read more of ACRU Policy Board member Hans von Spakovsky's National Review article.
Virginia Governor Adds 200,000 Felons to Voting Rolls | 04/22/16
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- More than 200,000 convicted felons will be eligible to vote and run for public office in Virginia under a sweeping executive order announced Friday by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
McAuliffe said his actions would help undo Virginia's long history of trying to suppress the black vote.
He said he was certain he had the legal authority for the massive extension of voting rights, adding that he'd consulted with legal and constitutional experts, including Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.
No Voters Denied Due to Photo ID Law, former Virginia Officials Testify | 03/12/16
Several former state and local election officials testified in federal court that they were not aware of any eligible voter who has been denied the right to cast a ballot because of Virginia's photo voter ID requirement enacted in 2013.
"None," said Cameron Quinn, a former state elections official who from 2011 until last year was the general registrar for Fairfax County, testifying on March 1 in the sixth day of a trial before U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson in a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party of Virginia and two voters challenging the state law. Fairfax is the state's largest jurisdiction and has 700,000 registered voters.
Justin Riemer, a former member of the Virginia State Board of Elections and Donald Palmer, the former secretary of the board, also testified that they were not aware of anyone unable to vote because of the photo requirement.
Faulty Data Fuel Challenges to Voter ID Laws | 03/07/16
By Don Palmer
The use of photo identification to confirm the identity of voters serves an essential election security function in America's polling places and boosts citizens' confidence in the voting process.
In perhaps their most prevalent means of attack, opponents of laws requiring photo ID greatly exaggerate the number of voters without a valid ID. In legislative, litigation, and public relations battles, opponents use wildly inflated numbers in an attempt both to portray these laws as burdensome and to gain partisan electoral advantage.
They cite a highly inflated number of voters who do not possess a driver's license as the universal number of those who are not able to vote, even though, under all state photo ID laws, various other forms of ID, such as federal and state government IDs, U.S. passports, tribal IDs, or even employer-issued or university student IDs, are also acceptable.
Read Heritage Foundation report.
Virginia Voter Photo ID Law Challenged in Court | 03/01/16
A Virginia law requiring voters to show photo identification went on trial in federal court on Feb. 22, challenged by Democratic Party activists who allege it throws up barriers to voting by minorities and the poor.
Lawyers defending the 2013 Virginia law said it prevented voter fraud. The trial in U.S. District Court is one of several voting rights legal battles as Democrats and Republicans square off before November's presidential and congressional elections.
The Democratic Party of Virginia and two party activists are suing the Virginia State Board of Elections and want Judge Henry Hudson to strike down the law.
Attorney Bruce Spiva, representing those challenging the measure, said the photo ID law was an effort to hamper the Democratic Party in the state.
It creates "irrational hoops that people have to jump through" and has a "disproportional impact on people of color," Spiva said.
Mark Hearne, an independent counsel for the state attorney general, dismissed the allegations.
"It is impossible to show a suppressive effect on minorities from the photo ID law," Hearne said. He added the law was an effort to protect against voter fraud.
Democrats Sue over Virginia Voter ID Law | 06/16/15
Virginia Democrats filed a lawsuit on June 11 challenging the state's voter ID law, joining an effort backed by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton to overturn voting rules in several swing states ahead of the 2016 elections.
The Democratic Party of Virginia said in the lawsuit that the photo ID requirement, which was approved by the Republican-run legislature, would make it difficult for residents to vote.
"The commonwealth voted strongly to support Democrats in recent national elections. After Republicans determined they couldn't change the minds of the electorate, they decided to change the makeup of the electorate instead by making it more difficult for Virginians to exercise their right to vote," Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said in a statement.
Similar arguments have been raised in lawsuits challenging GOP-backed voter ID laws in presidential battleground states of Ohio and Wisconsin.
Opponents of voter ID laws claim they disproportionally stops blacks, Hispanics and poor Americans from voting. Proponents argue that the laws are a safeguard against voter fraud. But there has been scant evidence of either widespread voter fraud or that the laws cause widespread problems with access to voting.
"This is another politically-motivated lawsuit funded by George Soros and out of state interest groups who are seeking to manipulate the court system in order to benefit the Democratic Party," said Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell.
Mr. Soros has pledged to spend as much as $5 million trying to overturn voter ID laws and other election rules ahead of next year's elections.
6.9 Million Multiple Voters in 28 States, Study Finds | 07/04/14
RICHMOND, Va. -- Some 6.9 million Americans are registered to vote in two or more states, according to a report obtained by Watchdog.org.
"Our nation's voter rolls are a mess," says Catherine Engelbrecht, president of the election-watch group True The Vote.
"Sensible approaches to roll maintenance are fought tooth and nail by radical special interests who can use the duplicity in the system to their advantage," she said.
The latest interstate voter cross check tallied 6,951,484 overlapping voter registrations, and they're just the tip of the iceberg.
The cross-check program involves only 28 states and does not include the three largest: California, Texas and Florida.
Read more at Watchdog.org.
308,000 Virginia Voters Registered in Other States, Report Shows | 05/27/14
Some 308,000 Virginia voters are also registered elsewhere, according to an analysis of 22 states' election records.
The finding follows Watchdog.org's report of 44,000 people who appear to be registered in both Virginia and Maryland.
The latest survey found the 308,000 double registrations by matching names, birth dates and the last four digits of Social Security numbers.
The Virginia Voters Alliance, which reported the results, identified "big gaps" in the voter-registration process.
Read more from Watchdog.org.
44,000 Registered in Both Md. and Va., Group Finds | 04/25/14
A crosscheck of voter rolls in Virginia and Maryland turned up 44,000 people registered in both states, a vote-integrity group reported on April 23.
"The Virginia Voters Alliance is investigating how to identify voters who are registered and vote in Virginia but live in the states that surround us," Alliance President Reagan George told the State Board of Elections.
George acknowledged that the number of voters who actually cast multiple ballots is relatively small. In the case of Maryland and Virginia, he revealed that 164 people voted in both states during the 2012 election.
But George said his group will expand their search for duplicate voters in the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Georgia.
Virginia Rushing to Get Ready for Voter Photo ID Law | 12/09/13
With implementation of Virginia's new voter ID law seven months away, state election officials are scrambling to affordably create a photo ID card that will be provided to voters for free.
They also are gearing up to educate the public about the law that will take effect July 1.
Virginia County Registrar Threatened with Lawsuits over Refusal to Clean Up Voter Rolls | 11/21/13
CHESTERFIELD (WRIC) - Chesterfield County Registrar Larry Haake is in a legal battle after refusing to purge thousands of voter names. Before this year's election, he and other registrars were told to erase the names of people who weren't legally allowed to vote in Virginia.
The Chesterfield County Registrar refused until after the election, claiming the list was full of errors.
Two groups -- the American Civil Rights Union and True the Vote -- are now threatening legal action, and demanding that he clean up the rolls.
MSNBC's Ball Compares GOP Backing of Virginia Voter ID Law to "Jim Crow" | 11/14/13
Once again, a liberal at MSNBC has chosen to rewrite history by pretending that Republicans are the political party with a history of denying minorities the right to vote. Appearing on her daily MSNBC show, liberal co-host Krystal Ball went on a tirade against Republicans in Virginia claiming they are the "rightful heir to the Jim Crow legacy."
Read more at Newsbusters.org.
ACRU Warns Virginia County to Clean Up Voter Rolls | 10/23/13
The American Civil Rights Union announced October 22 that a letter was sent to Chesterfield County, Virginia officials requesting that ACRU attorneys be allowed to inspect county voting registration records before the November statewide election.
Dems Fight Clean-Up of Virginia's Voter Rolls | 10/16/13
Election officials across Virginia are grappling with how to follow through with a directive from the State Board of Elections to purge up to 57,000 registered voters from the state rolls -- a move that has prompted a lawsuit from the Democratic Party of Virginia and outright defiance by at least one registrar.
Holder: Feds Will Sue over Voter ID, but Not over Weed | 09/04/13
Mississippi columnist Sid Salter: Seems U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is fully prepared to sue Southern states over Voter ID laws, but is not willing to sue Colorado and Washington in their efforts to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana.
Holder's logic is apparently that while states should have lots of leeway on how they deal with enforcement of federal laws against smoking and selling weed, states should not have that same leeway when it comes to efforts to fight perceived voter fraud.
Editorial: Securing the Ballot | 04/01/13
Nothing is quite so implausible as a Democrat claiming he's against something because it's "too expensive." Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says he vetoed a prospective law requiring voters to show identification before casting a ballot because
it would cost $300,000.
Nearly three dozen other states are still solvent after adopting similar voter-ID
laws. On Tuesday, Virginia became the latest, with Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell's signature on a voter-ID bill that takes effect in November 2014.
Click here for full Washington Times editorial.
Governor Signs Virginia Photo ID Law | 03/27/13
RICHMOND - Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed legislation into law that will require voters to carry photo identification with them to the polls, starting next year in Virginia. Democrats decried the action as a Jim Crow-era tactic to suppress the votes of the elderly, minorities and the underprivileged. Republicans cheered the new law as a check on potential vote fraud.
Click here for full article.
Virginia Senate Committee Approves Tighter Voter ID Law | 01/21/13
Virginia Sen. Dick Black's measure to tighten ID voter requirements cleared a GOP-dominated Senate Privileges and Elections subcommittee on a 4-2 vote on Jan. 17.
Click here for full article.
Vote Fraud Alleged in Key States | 11/12/12
Vote fraud has been alleged in key states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, and Florida where in St. Lucie County, the unofficial vote count showed 175,554 registered voters but 247,713 vote cards were cast.
Click here for full article.
Rep. Moran's Son Resigns after Tape Is Revealed | 10/25/12
Patrick Moran, campaign field director for his father Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), resigned after a tape was released of him discussing ways around Virginia's new voter ID law.
Click here for full article.
New O'Keefe Video Catches Congressman's Son | 10/25/12
James O'Keefe of Project Veritas catches Patrick Moran, son of U.S. Rep. James Moran (D-VA) on tape discussing ways to commit vote fraud. On Wednesday, Mr. Moran resigned as field director for his father's campaign.
Click here to see video.
10,000 Dead People Found on Virginia Voter Rolls -- So Far | 08/10/12
RICHMOND -- The State Board of Elections has identified 10,000 dead individuals on the Virginia voter rolls. Local registrars will now begin removing the names from the rolls, but the finding is likely the tip of the iceberg. Only 15 million of the 60 million records in the Social Security death master file have been matched against the state's voter list thus far.
Click here for full article.
Virginia's New Voter ID Law 'Makes It Easy to Vote but Tough to Cheat' | 05/20/12
Gov. Bob McDonnell signed Virginia's new photo ID law and issued an executive order to mail new cards to every registered voter.
Click here for full article.
Richmond Paper Does Mea Culpa on Vote Fraud | 04/06/12
The Richmond Times-Dispatch had editorialized that the GOP
was wrong to press for vote fraud prevention legislation. Now that 10 convicted
felons have been indicted, the paper did a turnabout.
Click here for full article.
Voter Fraud in This Life and the Next | 02/17/12
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published February 17, 2012 in The Washington Times.
Did you know that according to a new Pew study, more than 1.8 million dead people are registered to vote? And that leading Democrats are fiercely opposing new laws that tighten voting requirements?
This tells us, just as we suspected, that the zombie population is becoming a major Democratic constituency.
Continue reading “Voter Fraud in This Life and the Next”.
Judge Says Virginia Ballot Rules Are Unconstitutional, but Rules against GOP Candidates Anyway | 01/17/12
This column by ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Ken Klukowski was published January 17, 2012 on The Washington Examiner website.
A federal judge declared that Virginia's rules keeping Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum off Virginia's March 6 presidential primary ballot "will likely be declared unconstitutional, and that the plaintiffs will ultimately prevail."
But then he sided with Virginia, and ordered Virginia's election to proceed with only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul on the ballot.
To make it on the primary ballot, Virginia law requires a candidate to submit 10,000 signatures of Virginia voters who attest they plan on voting in the primary, at least 400 of which must be from each congressional district. Signature petitions can only be circulated by Virginia citizens who are eligible to vote.
Continue reading “Judge Says Virginia Ballot Rules Are Unconstitutional, but Rules against GOP Candidates Anyway”.
Voter ID Terrifies Democrats | 12/30/11
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published December 30, 2011 in The Washington Times.
The most consequential election in our lifetime is still 10 months away, but it's clear from the Obama administration's order halting South Carolina's new photo ID law that the Democrats already have brought a gun to a knife fight.
How else to describe this naked assault on the right of a state to create minimal requirements to curb vote fraud?
On Dec. 23, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez sent a letter ordering South Carolina to stop enforcing its photo ID law. Mr. Perez, who heads the Civil Rights Division that booted charges against the New Black Panther Party for intimidating voters in Philadelphia in 2008, said South Carolina's law would disenfranchise thousands of minority voters.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson rejected Mr. Perez's math and explained on Fox News why the law is necessary. The state Department of Motor Vehicles audited a state Election Commission report that said 239,333 people were registered to vote but had no photo ID. The DMV found that 37,000 were deceased, more than 90,000 had moved to other states, and others had names not matched to IDs. That left only 27,000 people registered without a photo ID but who could vote by signing an affidavit as to their identity.
Continue reading “Voter ID Terrifies Democrats”.
Election Message: Get Involved or Get Left Out | 11/11/11
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published November 11, 2011 on The Washington Times website.
Tuesday's off-year elections revealed a truth well known in sports that also applies to politics: The side that's more energized wins. In Virginia, an energized Republican Party apparently gained a tie in the Senate, giving the GOP control of all three branches - governor, House and Senate - for the first time since Reconstruction. A recount could reverse it, but right now, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's Senate vote would be the 20-20 tie breaker. This was no small feat, given the gerrymandering by the last Democratic majority.
In Loudoun County, all nine supervisor posts went to the GOP. Even the liberal Democrat School Board chairman who thinks children should read homosexual penguin books lost his seat.
Dick Black, a former House delegate and prominent social conservative, trounced his Democratic opponent for a new state Senate seat despite being vilified by a local newspaper and The Washington Post in articles so biased that the reporters must have typed them only with their left hands. Seriously. They read like hit pieces from Mr. Black's opponent's campaign mailers.
Overall, it was a slam dunk for the GOP in the Old Dominion. Virginia has a vibrant Tea Party movement, a charismatic governor and a motivated base. The election results also reflected public rejection of the Obama administration's disastrous economic and regulatory policies.
Continue reading “Election Message: Get Involved or Get Left Out”.