The Justice Department has approved Virginia’s Voter ID law, which was necessary because Virginia is one of the states covered by the Voting Rights Act, mandating federal approval for changes to electoral procedures. NBC News notes Virginia’s voter ID requirements are considerably less stringent than the laws DOJ has chosen to contest:
Unlike states with the strictest photo ID requirement, Virginia will allow voters to cast a ballot if they present a student ID card issued by a state college or university as well as documents that carry no photo, including a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck showing the voter’s name and address.
The state already honors Virginia voter registration cards that have no photo, as well as more traditional forms of identification, including a driver’s license or other government ID as well as an employee photo identification card.
Virginia’s new law also tightens the procedure for casting provisional ballots without proper identification, although final confirmation of identity for these ballots is still easier than in other states, because it can be done by fax, email, or even snail mail – a method that would seem risky, given that the provisional voter must submit acceptable identification documents within three days.