ID rules for 1st-time voters, affect a lot of states Email Print

Know the ID requirements when you go to vote -- they are not limited neatly to just the so-called "VoterID states." In most states, they're important especially if you're a first-time voter and you registered by mail instead of in person. It can affect processing of your absentee ballot too.

See below for ID requirements listed from the states' election websites. You can look up more detailed info by state with a look-up to its election website from here (left column).

A GENERAL RULE you should expect to face if you're a first-time voter who registered through the mail:

expect to show the ID listed by your state's website when you go to cast a vote today.

If you are returning your absentee ballot, check your state's rules for ID.

When you return by mail an absentee ballot as a first-time voter - you generally need to xerox your ID document and enclose it in the ballot envelope. Do not assume you won't have to do this, or your mailed-in ballot may be set aside and not counted.

Believe it or not, it is the HAVA law that gives states the right to require ID for new voters who sent their registration through the mail.


California can ask for your ID only if it is your first time voting in a federal election in your current county precinct and if you registered by mail. If this applies to you, then you would show an ID document when you vote, or submit a copy of it with your voted absentee ballot when you mail it in. California accepts lots of forms of documentation, either a non-photo document that has your name address and a recent date, or sample ballot; or else a simple current photo ID card, such as employee ID, student ID, public housing ID. A pdf list of many types of documents is here.  Also a web explanation here.

Voters who didn't register by mail "are not required to show ID to vote" in California.


PENNSYLVANIA - Votes for federal office on an absentee ballot are counted for all ballots returned to the county Board of Elections by poll-closing time or 8 pm today. (Votes for down-ballot races will be counted only on absentee ballots that were turned in by Friday 10/31, Pa's official deadline.)

PA imposes on ALL first-time voters (even those who registered in person at a county office) a voter ID requirement that can be satisfied with either a photo or non-photo ID. ID applies also to a longstanding voter who is voting for the first time in a different precinct.

For absentee, you need to enclose in the envelope, along with your voted absentee ballot, a copy of the non-photo or photo ID, if you are a first-time voter.

If it's a non-photo ID, it should include your name and your address.

Approved forms of non-photo ID include:    

    * Non-photo ID issued by the Commonwealth of Pa.
    * Non-photo ID issued by the U.S. Government
    * Firearm permit
    * Current utility bill or current bank statement
    * Current paycheck
    * Government check
    * Confirmation issued by the County Voter Registration Office (the voter registration card sent to you). Most states don't let you use the Registration card for voting ID, but Pa. does, per SoS website. However, I wonder if it's a safer bet for mailing in to include one of the other above or below forms of ID if you have it.

Approved forms of Photo ID include:

    * Pennsylvania driver's license or PennDOT ID card
    * ID issued by any Commonwealth of Pa. agency
    * ID issued by the U.S. Government
    * U.S. passport
    * U.S. Armed Forces ID
    * Student ID
    * Employee ID

The same ID requirements are imposed on Election Day precinct voting for first-time voters in PA, or for first time in a new precinct.


COLORADO is a state that accepts some forms of photo or non-photo ID but has pretty strict requirements.
They are shown at the Colo. Secretary of State site (10th question of FAQ list).

When voting in person, you will need one of the following types of identification:

    * A current valid Colorado driver's license, or
    * A valid i.d. card issued by the Dept of Revenue, or
    * A valid student Photo identification card issued by a college, university, community college, vocational school in Colorado, or
    * A valid U.S. passport, or
    * A valid employee ID card with photo if it is issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. government or of the state of Colorado, or by any county, municipality, board, authority, or other political subdivision of the state of Colorado; or
    * A valid pilot's license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration or other U.S. authorized agency; or
    * A valid U.S. military photo ID; or
    * A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address. (A cable bill, a telephone bill; documentation from a public institution of higher education in Colorado containing at least the name, date of birth, and legal residence address of the student; a paycheck from a government institution; or a Certificate of Degree of Indian or Alaskan Native Blood are sufficient forms of identification); or
    * A valid Medicare or Medicaid card issued by the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration; or
    * A certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate issued in the United States; or
    * Certified documentation of naturalization.

The Colorado SoS site says:
A Social Security number (or last four digits) is NOT a legal form of identification for voting in person in Colorado.

If you have any questions regarding identification, please contact the Election Department.
          --------------------------- ----

 VOTING BY MAIL in Colorado [info not just for first-time voters]

If you did NOT provide a copy of your ID when you registered to vote by mail, a copy of one of the following forms of identification is REQUIRED to be submitted with your Mail-In Ballot:
  any of the same ID documents listed for in-person above, mail in a copy enclosed in the ballot envelope.

Similar info is given at the county election sites in Colorado, such as El Paso County.



  Georgia has strict photo voter ID laws in place for in-person voting. However, if you mail in an absentee ballot but are not a first-time voter, the photo ID requirement does not apply to the mail-in ballot.

[Note - If you recently registered to vote in Ga. by mail, you were supposed to have enclosed the stated ID on the registration form.]
The Ga. SoS site says "You are not  required to provide identification when you vote absentee by mail." [ efault.htm ] (If you bring in your absentee ballot in person, then you are required to bring in one of the 6 forms of ID listed below.)

For early in-person voting or Nov. 4 precinct voting in Georgia, any of these are acceptable photo ID:

        A Georgia Driver's License, even if expired
         Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state
         Valid U.S. passport ID
         Valid U.S. military photo ID
         Valid tribal photo ID
        Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a Free Voter ID Card issued by your  county registrar's office or the  Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)

ALSO if you are enrolled in one of the public colleges, universities or technical schools in Ga. listed on the ID FAQ page (scroll), you can use your school photo ID.

But if you're enrolled in a private college, then you need one of the regular forms of ID listed above.

You can find your GA county registrar's office here.


Nevada doesn't have strict ID for in-person voting, but lists on its elections website the ID to be submitted for a first-time Nevada voter who votes by mail.
These include:

* Current Nevada Driver's License, or current Nevada State Identification Card,
* Rent receipt with pre-printed address,
* Bank statement or pre-printed check,
* Credit card statement,
* Car registration or proof of insurance,
* Government document (tax bill, income info.), or
* current utility bill

Link to Clark County office here, for Washoe Cty. here,, helpful contact info for those and other counties here.


For Absentee voting -
I'm not finding the ID requirements for absentee directly on the Fla. Elections website, but I found info on a related website that quotes, Source: direct email with the Secretary of State's office:
First-time absentee voters who did not meet the federal ID requirements when they registered by mail need to enclose a copy of their ID with their request for the absentee ballot.

Acceptable forms of ID for first-time Florida voters requesting an absentee ballot:  a copy of a current and valid photo identification (driver's license, state ID card, US passport, student ID, employee ID, military ID);

OR a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

 Fla.'s website does give explicit info about the PHOTO ID required for voting in person.

Note --   "If your photo identification does not contain your signature, you will be asked to provide an additional identification that includes a signature."

At the polls, you will be asked to provide a valid picture identification with signature. The following photo ids will be accepted:

    * Florida driver's license, or Florida ID card issued by the Dept. of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles
    * U.S. passport
    * Debit or credit card
    * Military identification
    * Student identification
    * Retirement center identification
    * Neighborhood association identification
    * Public assistance identification.

Note that in a letter from Fla.'s Director or the Division of Elections, Donald Palmer, dated Sep. 22, he wrote that the ID is used solely to establish identity; it does not have to have the most recent address [pdf memo here. SoS Kurt Browning wrote the same thing in an article to the St. Petersburg Times 10/3 here -

Identification required and checked at the polls is used solely to confirm the voter's identity, not to verify the voter's ID number or address. The photo on the ID is compared to the person standing before the poll worker and the signature on the ID is compared to the signature on record.

So if the Florida address on the ID is not up-to-date with your most recent address, that is okay as long as your current address is the same as the voter registration address on record with the Board of Elections. The ID you bring to the poll is used to establish who you are (identity), not to prove street address.

Important for any voter who registered in FLA on or after Sep. 8:  Florida implemented an "exact match" database check against registrations made on or after Sep. 8. The matching can get flagged for a difference in middle initial (missing on 1 database, included on another), clerical errors, or hyphenated last names. Check your registration is in force either at this site or with your county supervisor of elections, found here.

If you find your registration is in limbo for a mismatch, then "the applicant must provide a copy of a driver license or Social Security card in person or by mail, fax or e-mail" to the supervisor of elections.

Some county election supervisors allow  voters to address the problem at the polling place or early voting place instead of at the supervisor's office.


Indiana's website says,
Note: Voters who are casting their ballot absentee-by-mail are NOT required to show photo ID. - per the SoS site.

But a 1st-time voter in INDIANA who registered through the mail needs to present or include ID that confirm your residence address.  An acceptable document would be 1 of the following:

  1. Indiana Driver's License or Indiana State Identification Card, with the voter's current name and address
  2. Any current and valid photo ID that contains the voter's current name and address
  3. A current utility bill, with the voter's current name and address
  4. A bank statement, with the voter's current name and address
  5. Government check with the voter's current name and address
  6. Paycheck with the voter's current name and address
  7. Other government document that shows voter's current name and address

For voting in person instead of absentee, also bring a Photo ID, see below.

To vote early in person in Indiana, or on Election Day, you must show a PHOTO ID that displays an expiration date that is current, or not earlier than "the date of the last General Election (November 7, 2006)."
Also acceptable: "Military IDs with expiration dates of 'INDEF'"

The photo ID must have been issued by the State of Indiana [including a public university] or the U.S. government

In most cases, an Indiana driver license, Indiana photo ID card, Military ID or U.S. Passport is sufficient.

A student photo ID from an Indiana State school may only be used if it meets the criteria shown above, eg, has a valid expiration date. A student ID from a private institution may not be used for voting purposes.


"Many forms of identification will be accepted"

For Early In-Person and Absentee Voting -

The last four digits of voter's Social Security number; or your driver's license number; or
A copy of a current and valid photo identification, (i.e. Ohio driver's license, state ID card, government ID).

Photo identification must show name and address;

A copy of a current utility bill (including cell phone bill), bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows the voter's name and current address (including from a public college or university).

(Note - In Ohio, you cannot use a notice that the board of elections mailed to you as proof of identification.)

Note that the request for an absentee ballot also should include one of the above pieces of identifying info.


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