New ID Policies in Place for Upcoming Election

In 2012 changes were made to Virginia’s voter identification laws. Virginia voters are reminded that state law requires all voters to provide an acceptable form of identification (ID) at the polls. Voters arriving to the polls without ID will be required to vote a provisional ballot and will have until noon on the Friday after the election to deliver a copy of identification to their locality’s electoral board in order for their provisional ballot to be counted. Please see below in “Provisional Ballot Process for Voters Who Arrive Without Identification” for more information on how the provisional ballot process will work for those arriving to the polls without ID.

Virginia’s ID requirements also apply to absentee voters who vote in-person. Please see below in “Special Federal ID Requirements for Certain First Time Voters”for other potential special cases for first-time voters.

Acceptable forms of identification include the following:

•Virginia voter registration card

•Valid Virginia driver’s license

•Military ID

•Any Federal, Virginia state or local government-issued ID

•Employer issued photo ID card

•Concealed handgun permit

•Valid student ID issued by any institution of higher education located in the Commonwealth of Virginia

•Current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck indicating the name and address of the voter
•Social Security card (*please see below as the social security card does not satisfy special federal ID requirements)

A voter who does not bring an acceptable ID to the polls will be offered a provisional ballot.

Don’t have one of these forms of ID?

All Virginia active registered voters will be mailed a new Virginia voter registration card prior to the November 2012 General Election. If you are not registered but are eligible for registration, please register today and a voter registration card will be mailed to you by your local general registrar’s office after your application has been processed.

Provisional Ballot Process for Voters Who Arrive Without Identification

All active registered voters in Virginia will be mailed a new voter identification card prior to the November 2012 General Election. Voters without any other ID should bring this form of ID with them to the polls as this will satisfy the voter ID requirements for Virginia and federal law.

A voter who arrives at the polling place without an acceptable form of identification will be given the opportunity to vote a provisional ballot. After completing the provisional ballot, the individual voting will be given written instructions from the election officials on how to submit a copy of his/her identification so that his/her vote can be counted.

A voter will have until noon on the Friday following the election to deliver a copy of the identification to the local electoral board. Voters may submit a copy of their ID via fax, email, in-person submission, or through USPS or commercial delivery service. Please note that the copy of the ID must be delivered to the electoral board by noon on Friday, or the provisional ballot cannot be counted. A Friday postmark will not be sufficient if the copy of the ID is not delivered to the electoral board by noon on Friday.

The written notice given to the voter will provide the necessary information, including email, fax, and address of where the ID should be delivered.

Dos and Don’t For Campaigners and Authorized Representatives

Special Federal ID Requirements for Certain First Time Voters

For persons who registered to vote in Virginia by mail, federal law requires them to show identification (ID) when voting (in-person or absentee) for the first time in a federal election if they did not send a copy of one of these IDs with their voter registration applications. Voters subject to this special ID requirement will have the phrase “First-time Federal” after the “ID Required” item in their on-line voter registration record. Any of the following types of ID are acceptable:

1.A current and valid photo ID (for example a driver’s license);

2.or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck that shows name and address;

3.or another government document that shows name and address (for example a voter card).

This federal ID requirement applies the first time a person votes in any federal election, either on the day of the election or by absentee ballot. If the voter does not present one of these forms of ID at the polls, that person will be offered a provisional ballot that includes a voter information statement under felony penalty. This is a paper ballot that the local electoral board may count if the voter later provides the required identification. Such persons have the right to appear before the Electoral Board and can request an extension up to one day to present evidence. If the voter returns an absentee ballot by mail without a copy of one of these forms of ID, the absentee ballot will be treated as a provisional ballot and counted only if the voter provides a copy of ID to the electoral board by the deadline applicable to all voters.

Please remember that these requirements apply to first-time voters who are voting absentee by mail and in-person.

*Note: In nearly all cases, the Virginia identification requirements mirror and satisfy the federal ID requirements. However, a social security card does not satisfy the federal ID requirements, if you are a first-time voter who fits the criteria listed in this section. Please also remember that the federal ID requirements apply to both absentee voting and voting at the polling place on Election Day.

AFBF President Bob Stallman: Your Democracy, Your Vote, Your Responsibility

AFBF President
Bob Stallman

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 is a very important day. Not because a Democrat may be reelected as the U.S. President or because a Republican may ascend to the office. Tuesday Nov. 6 is significant because on that day we will all have a say in the future direction of our government as we cast our votes at ballot boxes across America.

Because many brave Americans have fought to ensure this inalienable right, it is all of our responsibility as citizens to uphold it by engaging in the political process. This is crucial to a functioning democracy. George Bernard Shaw best stated this sentiment when he said, “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”

Road to the White House

At the top of the political rung this election are two qualified candidates seeking the presidency. And while the American Farm Bureau remains bipartisan and does not support one candidate over the other, we are most definitely politically active. We encourage Farm Bureau members to study the issues and assess how each of these two candidates would treat U.S. agriculture and our rural communities.

President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney recently took time to answer an AFBF questionnaire on important agricultural issues and how their administrations would work with farmers and ranchers. From the past four years, we know where President Obama has stood on many Farm Bureau priority issues. For example, he has shown his support for AFBF-supported trade agreements, home grown energy sources and passage of the farm bill. But, he has also overseen the Environmental Protection Agency’s power grab on environmental issues impacting farmers.

In his responses, President Obama said a farm bill must be passed this year that maintains a strong crop insurance program and an extended disaster assistance program. He also said he will increase funding for agricultural research and development by more than 20 percent and extend tax incentives for wind energy and other clean energies that would help farm income.

According to Governor Romney’s responses, he supports many of the same tax incentives as Farm Bureau members, like eliminating the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax, as well eliminating the capital gains tax for lower income Americans. He also supports making environmental regulations more rational and cost-effective. On labor issues, he supports allowing kids to work on family farms.

Differing from Farm Bureau, Romney supported his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.), vote on the House disaster bill, an alternative to pushing for congressional agreement on the long-term farm bill that is much needed.

All Politics is Local

Just as important to agriculture and rural America are the ballot initiatives taking place around the country. Often the agriculture industry is far more impacted by local referenda than what happens in Washington.

For example, the North Dakota Farming and Ranching Amendment, also known as Measure 3, sponsored by the North Dakota Farm Bureau, would forever guarantee modern agricultural practices in the state. Specifically, the measure calls for a constitutional amendment that would block any law ‘which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology, modern livestock production and ranching practices.”

In California, many farmers are fighting Prop 37, a ballot initiative that, if passed, would make California the first state to require labeling of foods produced with biotechnology. According to opponents of Prop 37, like the California Farm Bureau, the measure would raise food costs, hurt small businesses and farmers and create frivolous lawsuits. Further, farmers feel that labeling wrongly implies that biotech foods are unsafe and misleads many consumers.

So, as Tuesday, Nov. 6 approaches, take the opportunity to read up on the candidates and issues that could impact your lives and livelihoods. Once you get past all the campaign rhetoric, you may be surprised at what’s really at the heart of the issues. It’s your democracy—get involved!

Obama & Romney Outline Positions on Farm Issues

Photo by Scout Tufankjian

President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney recently spelled out their positions on agriculture issues for the American Farm Bureau Federation. In a questionnaire, both candidates went into detail about their positions on energy, environmental regulations, farm labor and more.

Every four years, the American Farm Bureau Federation asks the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees to address the issues that concern farmers and ranchers most. This election, energy issues and farm policy are the driving forces in the candidate’s responses.

“Our rural communities, farmers and ranchers can increase our energy independence and boost the transition to a clean energy economy,” Obama responded. “Last year, rural America produced enough renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel to meet roughly 8 percent of our needs, helping us increase our energy independence to its highest level in 20 years…and the new Renewable Fuel Standard helped boost biodiesel production to nearly 1 billion gallons in 2011, supporting 39,000 jobs.”

Romney, too, supports the RFS and other agriculture-derived energies.

“I have a vision for an America that is an energy superpower, rapidly increasing our own production and partnering with our allies, Canada and Mexico, to achieve energy independence on this continent by 2020,” said Romney. “The increased production of biofuels plays an important part in my plan to achieve energy independence. In order to support increased market penetration and competition among energy sources, I am in favor of maintaining the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

On farm policy, Obama said he understands the need for a strong farm safety net. “That’s why I increased the availability of crop insurance and emergency disaster assistance to help over 590,000 farmers and ranchers keep their farms in business after natural disasters and crop loss,” he said. “My administration expanded farm credit to help more than 100,000 farmers struggling during the financial crisis…and as farmers continue to go through hard times because of this drought, we are expanding access to low-interest loans, encouraging insurance companies to extend payment deadlines and opening new lands for livestock farmers to graze their herds.”

Romney said he supports passage of a strong farm bill “that provides the appropriate risk management tools that will work for farmers and ranchers throughout the country.” He also pointed out that his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), voted for drought relief – a bill which the Senate never took up.

When asked why farmers should vote for them, Obama said he is committed to strengthening rural America through growing products that the world wants to buy and restoring middle class values of hard work and play. He further said, “I am the only candidate that is committed to strengthening the farm safety net, strengthening rural economic growth and supporting rural investments in clean energy.”

Romney said if he were elected, he would give farmers relief from hefty environmental regulations, as well as “a commonsense energy policy that develops our resources right here at home; a renewed focus on opening new markets; and a pro-growth tax policy that encourages investment and recognizes that death should not be a taxable event.”

To view the full questionnaires and responses, click here.