Va. leaders react to approval of ID laws by Justice Dept.

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RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) Local and state officials are weighing in on the Federal Justice Department’s decision to approve new voting laws in Virginia.

The new guidelines require some form of identification to be presented before a voter can cast a ballot.

Valid forms of ID include:

  • Va. Registration Voting Card
  • Social Security Card
  • Virginia Driving License
  • A Va. College Student ID Card
  • Employee Photo Identification Card
  • Copy of a current utility bill
  • Copy of a current bank statement
  • Copy of a current government check
  • Paycheck showing name and address of voter
  • A concealed handgun permit    

“Now that the Justice Department has pre-cleared the voter ID, we do know what we need to do,” Lawrence Haake, General Registrar for Chesterfield County, told CBS 6.

Haake said that election officials across the state have been waiting for the Justice Department’s decision on the laws before formally making any changes to their election day procedures.

Any voting changes made by the Commonwealth must be approved by the Federal Government in accordance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Haake, who is in favor of the changes, says  these measures will prevent voter fraud.

State Senator Henry Marsh, a Democrat who was initially against the changes, told CBS 6 that because the law allows for more than a photo ID to be shown, he can accept it.

“I think the laws have been modified and that it can work,” St. Sen. Marsh said.

Marsh warns however that the state must implement the changes effectively – fearing that many people do not know exactly what they need to bring.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is optimistic.

“This is a good voter ID law,” Cuccinelli said.

The Attorney General also told CBS 6 of some future changes he would like to see to voting practices in Virginia including changes in how someone is registered to vote.

Cuccinelli also believes more authority should be given to state election officials to investigate cases of fraud.

“I do think the state board of elections ought to have more authority to press ahead and investigate where there are problems,” Cuccinelli said.

Presently, the state police have jurisdiction in cases of voter fraud but because of other police matters Cuccinelli says it is not always their top priority.