Should Expired IDs Work for Voter ID? Arlington County Says Yes; Not Everyone Agrees

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[Image courtesy of arlingtonva.us]

The issue of voter ID has been so fierce and so slow to evolve that there are rarely new stories to tell about how it’s playing out in the states. Yet in Arlington County, Virginia (just across the river from Washington, DC) there is a move to allow voters with expired IDs like drivers licenses and passports to use them for voter ID under the Commonwealth’s new law. InsideNOVA has more:

Arlington election officials want the State Board of Elections to permit voters to use expired photo-IDs, such as passports and driver’s licenses, if they do not have current IDs when they come to the polls in November.

“Does a photo ID past its expiration date mean it’s invalid as ID for voting? We think not,” the county elections office said on its Twitter feed (@arlingtonvotes) July 14.

Arlington election officials are among those statewide who have weighed in on the issue. Election officials from several jurisdictions say using out-of-date identification will not cause a problem.

“The photo IDs are intended to prove identity, and even an expired driver’s license or passport still serves to prove identity, even if the document cannot be used to drive or travel,” said April Cain, vice chairman of the Henrico County Electoral Board, during a public-comment period on the issue.

Not surprisingly, not everyone likes the idea.

“Expired driver’s licenses or passports should not be acceptable forms of ID for voting or registration,” said Maureen Williams-Wolfe, one of those who provided public input to state election officials.

“Too many people move out of state and keep their previous state licenses,” Williams-Wolfe said. “Crossing back and voting in Virginia from West Virginia, North Carolina, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Tennessee or Kentucky is not unheard of while also voting in their new state.”

The discussion continues as the state formulates final rules for the new ID requirement:

The General Assembly in 2013 passed legislation requiring voters to show photo identification while casting ballots, but left implementation details up to election officials. The State Board of Elections is taking public comment through Aug. 4, prior to issuing final guidelines …

One proposal being considered by state officials is to allow voters to use IDs that have been expired for up to 30 days, but Arlington election officials don’t like that compromise.
The date of expiration date “shouldn’t matter for ID purposes,” the elections office tweeted.

Those without valid photo identification can come to the Arlington elections office during regular business hours to obtain an ID that will be accepted on Election Day.

This issue is worth watching not just because of its impact in Virginia but also because it could influence ID procedures in other states – stay tuned!

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