Election Guide: What to bring and expect when you vote
We contacted the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society to get some info on what we can expect when entering the polls. They sent us to their interview with Virginia ACLU Executive Director Claire Gastanaga. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
Voter ID Law: This was enacted during the last GA, and while the original version of the law had a fairly limited number of valid ID’s, Gov. Mcdonnell actually expanded the total number of legal documents. Here are a few of them:
State issued ID
Employer ID card
Military or Federal ID
Social Security card will work for state elections, but not for president if you are a first time voter
A full list of acceptable ID’s can be found here.
Provisional Ballots are still accessible if you don’t have a valid ID with you, but you’ll need to fax or show up to your local registrar’s office with your valid ID by Friday at noon.
Polls open at 6AM and close at 7 PM. But as long as you are IN LINE by 7 PM, you will be allowed to vote.
There are no limits to what you can wear when you go to vote, including t-shirts and buttons endorsing a candidate.
But there is no “campaigning” within 40 feet of the polling doorway. So feel free to wear your Obama or Romney shirt, but shut your mouth once you get close to the doors.
You can expect a few different kinds of polling machines. If you felt you made an error while voting, call an election official over to your booth and they should be able to fix the issue and walk you through the voting process.
If you have trouble getting from your vehicle to your polling place, you could be eligible for curbside voting. Have someone alert an election official and they will bring accessible equipment to you, either a laptop or a paper ballot.
To find out where you vote, check SBE.Virginia.Gov – THIS IS A GREAT TOOL! USE IT!
If you haven’t voted in a few years, you could be on the inactive voter list. Check your status on the voter registration database (link above.) There are over 500,000 names on that list, so if its been awhile, don’t be afraid to check your status.
No matter who you vote for, or what your reasons for voting are – please vote.
If for any reason you feel your right to vote has been violated, the ACLU will have a hotline open, so give them a call (804) 644-8080
To avoid surprises, you can see a sample ballot here.
Thanks again to the folks at CVLA for letting us use their conversation. You can hear the entire interview at their website here.
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