Suffolk near top in IDs issued
Published 10:25 pm Monday, March 9, 2015
The Suffolk Voter Registrar ranks fourth in the state in the number of photo identifications it has provided to voters, registrar Susan Saunders said on Monday.
She attributes the high ranking to an outreach program her office kicked off Aug. 20, when employees visited Lake Prince Woods with a laptop, camera and signature pad to collect everything needed for the photo IDs, which were then mailed to the voters within two weeks.
Since then, the mobile outreach program has visited the retirement community once more and also has been to Ruritan meetings, civic league meetings, community centers and the Peanut Festival. It has issued 142 of the photo identifications.
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“We really want to make this as easily accessible as possible for those people who don’t possess an acceptable form of photo identification,” Saunders said.
The photo IDs were made necessary by a state law that took effect July 1, 2014, requiring all voters to show photo ID at the polls.
Acceptable forms of identification include driver’s licenses or other DMV-issued identification cards, U.S. passports, other government-issued photo ID cards such as military IDs, a valid student photo ID from a college or university in Virginia or an employee identification card with a picture of the voter.
For people who don’t already possess one of those cards, voter registrar’s offices in the state began offering free voter photo IDs. But Suffolk’s registrar is one of only a few — and was the first in Hampton Roads — to take the offering on the road.
“Have laptop, will travel,” Saunders quipped. “Being proactive has really helped us.”
She gave credit to the city’s information technology department for working closely with the Department of Elections to make the mobile photos possible.
Saunders also said word of mouth has been the top method of making more voters aware of the law. She said the need for the photo ID was instilled in election officials as part of their training.
“They got the word out,” she said. “They were able to tell their friends, their family members, their civic organizations, their church members of this new law.”
Voters who have missed the mobile outreach programs and still need to get their photo ID can visit the voter registrar’s office at 440 Market St. during business hours.
For more information on the new law, call 514-7750.