Richmond, VA –  The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia will provide assistance to voters who encounter problems at the polls during tomorrow’s presidential primary. The ACLU hotline number is (804) 644-8080.  Emails sent to acluva@acluva.org will also be answered.
The Republican primary received an unusual amount of attention earlier this year when the Republican Party announced its plan to require voters to sign a loyalty oath, and when primary candidate Rick Perry sued the State Board of Elections for requiring that ballot petition distributors be state residents.
The loyalty oath requirement was dropped after the ACLU, Republican voters, and top Republican Party officials complained.  Perry’s lawsuit, which was supported by an amicus brief from the ACLU of Virginia, was thrown out of court on a technicality, but not until the judge opined that the residency requirement was unconstitutional.
“Voters should not be confused by the media attention given to recent legislation requiring voters to show an ID or cast a provisional ballot,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis. “Voters without an ID tomorrow can still cast a regular ballot after signing a form supplied by a poll worker.”
However, the ACLU warns persons voting in a federal election for the first time of one caveat regarding IDs at the polls.  Federal law requires first-time voters who registered by mail to produce an ID or cast a provisional ballot.
Voters who are confused about ID rules, have any questions about voting, or encounter problems while voting should contact the ACLU hotline.
Advice the ACLU will be giving to voters is likely to include what to do if:

-- they have lost or do not have identification with them

-- they are told they are not on the registration rolls after arriving at the polls

-- they make a mistake while completing their ballot

-- their vote is challenged by someone else

-- they cannot physically access the polling place

-- they are told they cannot vote because they are wearing political attire

Contact: Kent Willis, Executive Director, 804-644-8022

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