Archive for May 18th, 2012
It is the last of a string of controversial measures in the explosive 2012 Virginia General Assembly and today Governor Bob McDonnell is ready to put it behind him. The Governor signed into law a measure that will tighten the requirements to prove your identification when you cast a ballot in an election in Virginia.
Currently in Virginia, if you are registered but show up the polls without any ID, you are able to cast your ballot, but sign a sworn statement that you are who you say you are. The vote counts, but you could be charged with fraud after the fact if you vote under someone else’s name.
Republicans have long criticized the practice as being an easy opportunity for voter fraud. This new measure would still allow you to cast a ballot without an ID, but that ballot would only be provisional and would not count until you can produce one of the acceptable forms of ID.
Democrats angrily fought the measure and claimed that it was a GOP effort to suppress voters. In particular, voters who tend to vote for democrats, including minorities, the elderly and the poor.
The Virginia proposal was one of many passed in state legislatures around the country, but the Commonwealth’s bill did not go as far as some which forced voters to produce a photo ID at the polls. In fact, while the Virginia bill tightened the requirements at the polls, it actually expanded what you could show to prove your identity. Currently a Virginia Voter ID card, a driver’s licence, Social Security card, government-issued ID or a photo ID from your place of employment are all accepted. The new law would also allow utility bills, paychecks, bank statements, government checks or a current Virginia college ID.
In an effort to make sure everyone who wants to vote can, McDonnell is issuing an Executive Order requiring the Board of Elections to send new voter ID cards to every single registered voter in Virginia. This provision is addition to the current bill, which will now become law.
The liberal group “ProgressVA” was not impressed with McDonnell’s efforts to soften the impact of the new restrictions. They called the move a waste of taxpayer funds.
“This legislation and the accompanying executive order are an expensive fix to a nonexistent problem,” said Anna Scholl ProgressVA’s Executive Director ”We’ve never solved anything in this country with less democracy and we shouldn’t start now.”
The full statement from the Governor’s office and ProgressVA’s response can be found after the jump: