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State senator urges expansion of DMV to keep early polling place

WOODBRIDGE — Starting Oct. 1, 2020, you’ll need a REAL ID to board a domestic flight in the U.S.

Virginia’s DMV will be the place to get the new REAL ID, and it’s going to need some additional space to serve the flying public who will be applying for the credential, said Delegate Richard Anderson (R-Prince William).

“This Herculean effort will require the construction of multiple additional customer service windows to service the issuance of Real ID credentials to tens of thousands of Prince William County residents,” said Anderson.

Starting October 1, 2018, the DMV estimates that it will begin issuing REAL ID credentials to 2.6 million Virginians. License holders will have the option of adding the credential to their permit when they renew.

The new IDs are in addition to other expanded services the DMV must offer to include E-ZPass transponders for highway toll lanes, TSA Pre-Check, and transportation worker identification credentials, according to DMV Commissioner Richard Holcomb.

Holcomb in March notified the Prince William County Electoral Board that space used for free the DMV to host early voting and to register voters would need to be reclaimed for DMV use.

“In difficult fiscal times, the DMV finds itself in need of premium office space currently occupied by the registrar’s operation in the Woodbridge Customer Service Center,” Holcomb stated in a March letter to the county’s Electoral Board commissioners.

A majority of the voter registration paperwork is processed when a customer visits the DMV window and not at the adjacent voter registration office. But the voting space at the DMV has become a vital early polling place during November elections for those casting absentee in-person ballots.

For that reason, it the voter registration office in Woodbridge should be saved, said Sen. Scott Surrovell (D-Fairfax, Prince William, Stafford).

“To me, this is a simple problem, but it’s going to require the county to come with some money,” said Surovell.

The DMV leases its Woodbridge customer service building on Caton Hill Road from a private developer. Surrovell suggests the DMV and county officials work with the property owner to expand the center to maintain the early voting center in population-rich eastern Prince William County, located just off busy Interstate 95.

Voter registration offices exist only in two DMVs in the state, to include Woodbridge and in Gate City near the Tennessee border.

Earlier this month, the Electoral Board tasked Prince William County General Registrar Michelle White to find alternative early voting spaces in the western portion of the county, as well as to work with the DMV to find an agreement to keep the Woodbridge site open.

The Woodbridge Customer Service Center is located at 2731 Caton Hill Road in Woodbridge.

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