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Tighter Voter ID Requirements Bring Costs to Virginia

February 20, 2012

New analysis shows impact could exceed $1.2 million

RICHMOND, VA – Two bills pending in the General Assembly to tighten voter ID requirements in Virginia will cost between half a million and $1.2 million, according to new analysis published today by The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis.

Under SB1 and HB9, voters who show up to the polls without an acceptable form of identification would be required to vote provisionally, resulting in significant implementation costs. But the state says the measures won’t cost anything.

“Despite an official state estimate that these costs can be absorbed in the existing State Board of Elections budget, the facts show that in other states where similar measures have been adopted, the costs have been significant,” says Michael Cassidy, Institute president.

The analysis examines similar voter ID laws in Maryland, North Carolina, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nevada, Georgia and South Carolina, and considers costs for voter education, staff training, and provisional ballot administration.

The Institute’s analysis puts the cost for Virginia between $522,263 and $1,258,959.

The state’s original fiscal impact statement for HB9 estimated the cost at $70,000 over two years and called for a budget amendment. That impact statement is no longer posted on the Legislative Information Services Web site and was replaced by the current version, which says the measure won’t cost anything. The original fiscal impact statement is available here. HB9 is on the Senate Privileges and Elections docket for Tuesday, February 21.

>> Read the report (pdf)
>> Read the release (pdf)