Sunday, November 2, 2008

Voting ID? Obama T-Shirts at the Polling Booth?

For those in the D.C. area
Some Facts to Know Before You Go to Vote
By Fredrick Kunkle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 2, 2008; C06

When is Election Day?

It's Tuesday, Nov. 4. Polls will be open in Virginia from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. In Maryland and the District, they will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

How do I find my polling place and verify that I am registered to vote?
In Virginia, visit

In Maryland, visit

In the District, visit

Am I required to bring identification to the polling place?
In Virginia, yes. Voters are required to present identification. Acceptable forms of ID include a Virginia voter registration card, driver's license, Social Security card or an ID issued by the military, federal government or employer. Federal law requires first-time voters who registered by mail and did not include a copy of an ID with their registration application to present any one of the following forms of ID: a current valid photo ID or a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government check bearing the person's name and address or another current government document with name and address, such as a voter's card.

In Maryland, generally no -- but it is probably a good idea to bring some. Although most voters do not have to show a registration card or their driver's license, some first-time voters and others who did not provide certain information on their voter registration application will be required to show ID. Voters are required only to provide their legal name when they check in to vote, and their legal name does not necessarily have to be their full legal name, either. For example, you are not required to use your middle name on your voting registration application.

In the District, generally no. According to federal law, the only people required to show ID are first-time voters who registered by mail and did not include an ID with their registration.

Can I wear campaign buttons or T-shirts into the polling place?
In Virginia, no. Seeking to clarify the commonwealth's code on exhibiting campaign material within 40 feet of the polls, the Virginia State Board of Elections on Oct. 14 approved a policy that prohibits people from displaying "any material, object, item, advertisement, or piece of apparel which has the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or issue."

In Maryland, yes. Voters may wear campaign buttons, T-shirts or stickers into the polling place while marking their ballots -- but they may not linger. Election judges, challengers, watchers and others stationed inside the polling place or within 100 feet of the polling place may not wear or display such materials.

In the District, no. Municipal regulations forbid political activity within 50 feet of a polling place, and this is construed as wearing buttons or T-shirts.

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