Sign at polling place says voter must “show ID” to vote

Fredericksburg -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia today asked the City of Fredericksburg Voter Registrar to remove signs at polling places that could cause voters to believe they must have an ID in order to vote.
Virginia law allows voters to sign an affirmation of identify form when they do not have identification with them.
In his letter faxed to Fredericksburg registrar Juanita Pitchford this morning, ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis, who is a resident of Fredericksburg, writes:
The sign that greeted me at the entrance to the polling place at New City Fellowship Church (Precinct 401) states at the top in large letters that voters must “show ID” in order to vote. Below that, in smaller type, is a list of the acceptable forms of identification that voters may use. Farther below, near the very bottom of the sign, is a note indicating that voters who do not have one of the approved IDs may sign an affirmation of identity form to vote.
After reading the sign, I entered the polling place and was greeted by two polite poll workers who asked me to make sure I had my ID out before picking up my ballot.
One of the most frequent complaints the ACLU of Virginia receives on Election Day is from voters who are misled by signs or poll workers into believing they must carry an ID in order to vote. Your sign does exactly that, and it is reinforced by poll workers.
“Every year we receive complaints from individuals who did not vote because of misleading signs or poll workers who told them they could not vote without an ID,” said Willis. “The law is clear, but registrars and poll workers resist it.”
The ACLU of Virginia and the Virginia NAACP operate a hotline on Election Day in which they monitor problems at the polls and assist voters who have been illegally denied the right to vote. The NAACP hotline number is 804/321-5678. The ACLU number is 804/644-8080. Spanish-speaking voters who encounter problems should contact the ACLU.
A copy of Willis’s letter to the Fredericksburg registrar is available at http://acluva.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/20071106-Fredericksburg-Voter-ID.pdf.

Contact: Kent Willis, 804/644-8022

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