Last week, in response to a letter from Campaign Legal Center, the Virginia Board of Elections (VBOE) issued updated guidance for absentee voters to election officials across the state.
The new guidance explains that first-time voters that registered by mail may now vote absentee if they cannot make it to the polls. In order to do so, first-time voters will have to mail in a copy of one of the following with their ballot: a valid photo ID, a current utility bill, or another government document that can confirm their name and address. Previously, first-time voters that registered by mail were required to vote in person. In the letter, CLC argued that the implementation of the laws violated federal law.
Virginia’s change in guidance is a positive first step, however, the absentee ballot application shared with voters still reflects the incorrect guidance, as does the Virginia Board of Election’s website. This is a problem: with the absentee ballot application fast approaching, Virginia voters deserve for the Commonwealth to accurately inform them of their voting rights. CLC will continue to work with the VBOE and encourage it to provide accurate information on all ballot applications and website instructions. It is essential that the absentee ballot application be corrected to ensure that everyone eligible to participate in our democracy is able to do so.