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Monday, November 5, 2012

It's voting time: Here's what you need to know before heading to the polls

Before heading out to the polls to vote Tuesday, here are some things you need to know:

The polls are open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Your polling place might have changed since the last time you voted. Visit the Virginia State Board of Elections website to find out where to go.

You will need to bring an acceptable ID, but you won’t have to provide a photo ID. If a poll worker asks you to produce a photo ID  or you have any other problem when trying to vote, call 703/573-6811. The Fairfax County Democratic Committee has assigned attorneys to some of the polling places to watch for irregularities.

These are acceptable IDs:

  • 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 an institution of higher education located in Virginia.
  • Current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck with the name and address of the voter.
  • A Social Security card.

If you don’t have one of those IDs, you can vote with a provisional ballot. You will then have to submit a copy of an acceptable ID to the Fairfax County Office of Elections by noon on Friday (by email, fax, regular mail, or in person), or your vote won’t count. Visit the State Board of Elections website for more information.

By this time, voters should have a clear idea of the candidates they’re supporting, but might not be well-informed about the other issues on the ballot.

Question #1 would amend the Virginia Constitution to make it more difficult for the state to take private property through eminent domain.

A state law enacted in 2007 already prohibits the use of eminent domain for private, commercial development, so a constitutional amendment isn’t needed. What’s more, this amendment goes way beyond that law by allowing business owners to demand payment for potential lost profits, which would drive up taxpayer’s costs for new roads or other public projects.

The ballot will also have four Fairfax County bond issues: for parks, public safety facilities, libraries, and flood prevention in the Huntington area.

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