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They don't think they made it hard enough for us to vote last year


January 9, 2013

The Virginian-Pilot reports, "In the minds of some Republicans, the General Assembly didn't go far enough last year when it approved tougher voting identification laws. Accordingly, several GOP lawmakers -- Dels. Rob Bell and Mark Cole, and Sen. Mark Obenshain among them -- are offering new voting measures for consideration by their legislative colleagues... 'Our elections should be free, fair, and accessible,' added Katie O'Connor, staff attorney with the Advancement Project. 'Proposals like this that make it harder for Virginians to participate in our democracy undermine our constitutional protections and silence the voice of the people.'"

Progressive Point: Our elections should be free, fair, and accessible to all. But conservatives in Richmond have made it clear that they think they didn't throw up enough barriers last year to eligible Virginia voters. Instead of making it harder for Virginians to vote, our leaders should be focused on fixing the long lines so many voters encountered in November.

Now is the time to make sure every eligible voter can exercise his or her right to vote. New restrictions would limit valid voter IDs to only a few specific kinds that many voters don't have. Parents, seniors, and working Virginians need flexibility that allows them to vote early or on weekends. This is America - it should be voters choosing our leaders, not politicians choosing voters.

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Get the Facts:

  • The Virginian-Pilot reports on the three Delegates' voter ID efforts:
    • "Bell plans to sponsor a bill that would require voters to present a government-issued photo ID to vote, show proof of citizenship to obtain an ID, and let the state provide the necessary documents at no-cost to eligible voters who can't afford them."

    • "Obenshain has pursued photo ID legislation since 2005 and this year said he'll offer legislation facilitating the transfer of drivers' license photos from the Department of Motor Vehicles to election officials to provide another layer of voter identity verification for local poll workers."

    • "Cole has pre-filed legislation that would strike from the law provisions that allow voters to present a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or pay stub with an address as valid ID at the polls."

  • On Election Day, some Fairfax voters were forced to wait until 10:30 PM, three and a half hours after the polls closed, to cast their votes. One possible cause may be partisan opposition to the approval of qualified poll workers. (Washington Post, November 14, 2012)

  • The new voter ID law passed in Virginia forced voters who did not bring one of the approved forms of ID to the poll to cast a provisional ballots that were only counted if they reported to their election office with an approved ID within three days of the election. (Virginian-Pilot, July 30, 2012)

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