Voter Identification (ID) - FAQs

Do I have to show ID in order to vote?

Yes. Voters must satisfy TWO separate but similar ID requirements in order to vote:

  • a state law ID requirement, and
  • a federal law ID requirement (passed as part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002),
    • This only applies to certain first time voters.

Do I have to show photo ID in order to vote?


Do I have to show ID or provide other documentation when I register to vote?

No. You may have to show ID before you actually cast a ballot, but you do not have to show ID to register to vote. 

What is the Virginia state law ID requirement?

Virginia law requires voters to show an acceptable form of identifying document each time they vote

  • in-person at your polling place on Election Day, or
  • when voting in-person absentee ballot before Election Day.

The Virginia state law ID requirement does NOT apply if you vote absentee by mail, though the federal requirement may apply.  If ID is needed when you vote absentee by mail, you will receive a notice with more information along with your mail-in absentee ballot.

What documents can I use to satisfy the ID requirement?

Acceptable documents include:

  • the Virginia voter information card,
    • if you no longer have your voter registration card, we can mail one to you; 
  • a valid Virginia driver's license;
  • any government-issued ID card from a federal, state or local  government agency;
  • any valid student ID card from a Virginia college or university, whether private or public;
  • a Social Security card (though this does not satisfy the federal ID requirements);
  • a Virginia concealed handgun permit;
  • Employer issued photo ID card; or
  • Current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck indicating the name and address of the voter.

What if I 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.

When should I submit one of the acceptable documents?

You may show your identifying document:

  • in-person at the polling place when voting on Election Day or at the satellite voting location during in-person absentee voting; OR
  • by mail, fax, as an e-mail attachment, or in person at the Office of Elections, by noon on the Friday after Election Day. (Photocopies of the document are acceptable.)

You must satisfy the ID requirement each time you appear in person to vote.

What happens if I do not provide an acceptable ID at my polling place or at the satellite voting center?

If you arrive at your polling place or at a satellite voting center without ID, you may still cast a provisional ballot.  After completing the provisional ballot, you will be given written instructions from the election officials on how to submit a copy of your identification so that your vote can be counted.

You will have until noon on the Friday following the election to deliver a copy of your identification to the local electoral board.  You may submit a copy of the ID via fax, via e-mail attachment, in-person submission, or through USPS or commercial delivery service. Please note that the copy of the ID must be received by the electoral board by noon on Friday, or the provisional ballot cannot be counted. A Friday postmark will not be sufficient.  You do not need to appear in person before the Electoral Board.

So long as the Electoral Board receives the copy by noon on the Friday after Election Day, your ballot will count. If the Electoral Board does not receive the copy by the deadline, your ballot will not count.

What is the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (“HAVA”) federal law ID requirement?

The HAVA ID requirement applies to federal elections for certain first-time voters who initially registered to vote by mail.  If you fit that description, you must provide current and valid photo identification, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows your name and address.  A social security card will not meet the requirement. 

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

ADA Accessibility | Website Accessibility
Awards | FOIA | Mobile | Using this Site | Web Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Get Adobe Reader
Official site of the County of Fairfax, Virginia, © Copyright 2013

Website Feedback Website Feedback    Globe with various flags representing Web site language translations   Language Translations

Return to Graphic Version