Voter Regisration Deadline Approaches
By Caitlin Davis
Sep 7, 2012, 11:33
photo by Sarah Steele Wilson
Although election day is still two months away, Hopewell Registrar Pamala Clark is busy getting everything ready for Hopewell voters. She wants to make sure every registered voter in Hopewell, currently 14,000, has a chance to make his or her voice heard. She also wants to make sure every potential voter who is not registered has the opportunity to get registered.
The last day to register to vote is Oct. 15, which is the same day to make any name or address changes to a voting record. New voter registration cards will be sent out before November, but Clark said she does not have a specific date for when voters can expect to see those arrive. The proper polling location also appears on a person’s voter ID card
“IDs will play a very important part in this election,” Clark said.
Clark said IDs have always been required for any election, but this year there will be a new process if someone does not have any identification.
Clark said that now, if someone shows up to a polling location without any form of ID, they can vote with a provisional ballot and cannot use the voting machines. To have the vote counted, the voter must provide proof of their identification to the local electoral board by noon on Nov. 9, the Friday after the election.
When the area was redistricted at the beginning of the year, new voter registration cards were sent out. Clark said if an individual’s address had changed and had not been updated with the registrar’s office at that time, the cards were sent to her office as undeliverable. Clark said about 1,000 were returned.
“If the address was not correct, they were returned to the registrar’s office,” Clark said. “What many people don’t know is those are not forwarded like other mail.”
According to the State Board of Elections, acceptable forms of IDs are the voter registration card, a valid Virginia Driver’s License, military ID, or any federal, Virginia state or local government issued ID.
To accommodate the public with address changes or any general questions, the office will be open two Saturdays before the election from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Currently, Clark is working on absentee applications. Though she has not received the ballots for the election, Clark said the absentee ballots and applications are due the Tuesday before the election, Oct. 30. While that date is over a month away, Clark advised the public to get the paperwork in sooner.
“I wouldn’t wait that long,” Clark said.
Clark said that ballots can be brought out to the car of individuals who might have difficulty walking into the office.
Clark also wanted to remind residents that while she cannot give exact details on what to expect at the polls this year, she can offer advice based on what she has seen in previous years.
“There will be lines,” Clark said. “We are looking for a big turnout this year.”
Voters will be selecting presidential candidates, congressional candidates and, members of the city council, and voting on constitutional amendments. She continued saying most voters are not aware that the amendments are on the ballot and don’t realize that having to read the amendment can take time and may tie up the lines at the voting machines.
The first amendment is to Section 2, Article 1 of the Constitution. “Due process of law; obligation of contracts; taking of private property’ prohibited discrimination; jury trial in civil cases.” The amendment asserts the right to private property is a “fundamental right,” and that the taking or damaging or private property must be for a “public use,” and no more property may be taken or damaged than is necessary for the stated public use.
The second amendment is for Section 6 of Article 5, which covers legislative sessions.
The proposed amendment will allow the General Assembly to delay the start of the veto session for up to one week. The General Assembly will be able to avoid the possible scheduling of the veto session on a religious holiday.
For further explanations on these proposed amendments and to read the entire proposed amendment, a pamphlet is available at the registrar’s office located at 309 N. Second Ave.
For more information on the new ID requirements or other election related issues, visit www.sbe.virginia.gov.