Judge rules on Confederate battle flag on Va. plates

UPDATE: July 31, 2015 1:01 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Confederate flags on Virginia license plates will soon be a thing of the past.

A federal judge in Danville decided Friday that Virginia won’t be forced to issue Sons of Confederate Veteran’s license plates with the confederate battle flag any more.

The heritage group had won an injunction requiring it about 15 years ago, but a Supreme Court ruling this summer found that Texas should be able to turn down Confederate battle flag plates since license plates are government speech, not personal.

A formal order will be issued later that will clarify whether this ruling will only apply to new plates or whether the commonwealth can recall the more than 1,500 plates that are out on the road right now.

EARLIER: July 31, 2015 5:54 a.m.: 

WASHINGTON — Arguments over whether the Confederate battle flag can be dropped from specialty Virginia license plates will be heard Friday in a federal court.

The plates support the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the confederate group says the flag represents heritage, and should be allowed. The group cites decisions in 1999 and 2001 that ended up requiring Maryland and Virginia to issue the plates.

But the Supreme Court ruled in June that Texas could reject a similarly designed plate, which Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says trumps the lower court rulings.

McAuliffe and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan both backed the removal of the battle flag from the specialty license plates following the Supreme Court decision and the Charleston church shooting.

The court hearing is expected to focus on whether the Supreme Court ruling voids the earlier rulings from the lower courts.

The federal court hearing will take place in Danville, Virginia.

  • Q: What's on the ballot? Who can vote?
  • Only the candidates running for the Democratic nomination for president will be on the ballot. The list of candidates on the ballot includes some candidates who have already dropped out of the race.

    Virginia’s is an open primary — meaning any registered voter can cast a ballot regardless of their party registration.

    The Virginia Republican Party has notified the Virginia Department of Elections it will not hold a primary on March 3. President Donald Trump is running for reelection and is expected to be officially selected as the state party’s nominee at a party convention.

    Democratic and Republican primaries to select candidates for the U.S. House and Senate are set to take place June 9, 2020.

  • Q: What do I need to vote?
  • You must have been registered to vote at least 22 days before Election Day.

    When you show up to the polls, you will need to show a photo ID to vote in person. Acceptable forms of ID include:

    • Virginia driver’s license
    • Virginia DMV-issued photo ID
    • United States passport
    • Employer-issued photo ID
    • Virginia Voter Photo ID card
    • Other U.S. or Virginia government-issued photo ID
    • Student photo ID issued by a school, college or university located in Virginia
    • Tribal enrollment or other tribal photo ID

    If you show up to vote and don’t have ID, you will have to vote using a provisional ballot.

  • Q: Voting absentee?
  • The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is Feb. 25. You can apply online for one, and register to vote if you aren’t already, at the Virginia Department of Election’s website, as well as in-person or by email, fax and standard mail.

    If you already signed up to vote absentee and received your ballot, you must turn it in to your voter registration office by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Absentee voters can also check the status of their ballot through the state’s online citizen portal.

  • Q: Need accommodations?
  • If you are 65 or older or you have a physical disability, you can vote from your car at your polling place on Election Day. The department of elections recommends you bring a helper with you who can go into the polling place and request curbside assistance.

  • Q: Who else is voting?
  • A lot of people. They don’t call it Super Tuesday for nothing. Virginia is one of 14 states plus American Samoa that are voting March 3.

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