Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Virginia GOP Votes to Limit Forms of Acceptable Voter ID

In its continuing effort to disenfranchise poor and minority voters members of the Virginia GOP in both houses of the Virginia General Assembly have voted to further restrict the forms of ID allowed at Virginia polling precincts.  The move - which required GOP Lt. Governor Bill Bolling's vote in the Senate - is totally in keeping with the GOP's racist, anti-immigrant policies in general.  One can only hope that the thinly veiled agenda of the GOP will backfire and cause poor and minority voters to start planning ahead and securing qualifying forms of ID so they can vote against Republican candidates in November.  The Richmond Times-Dispatch looks at the Virginia GOP's efforts to return Virginia to the Jim Crow era.  Here are highlights:

Relying again on the tie-breaking vote of Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Republicans in the evenly divided Virginia Senate this afternoon narrowly passed a controversial bill that would require nearly all voters at the polls to present a form of photo identification in order to cast a ballot.

But final approval of Senate Bill 1256, sponsored by Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, is contingent upon funding the estimated cost of providing free photos to all registered voters who do not have an acceptable form of photo ID.

The Senate legislation, and a companion measure -- House Bill 1337, sponsored by Del. Mark L. Cole, R-Spotsylvania, which cleared the House of Delegates today on a 63-36 vote -- would eliminate the use of a utility bill, pay stub, bank statement, government check and Social Security card as acceptable identification that can be presented at the polls. Voters would still be able to use a voter identification card, concealed handgun permit, driver's license and student ID card.  .  .  .  .  if signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell, it would be the second significant change to voter identification requirements in two years.

Del. Delores L. McQuinn, D-Richmond, said Republicans are trying to create obstacles to make voting more difficult. “This legislative session, House Republicans have defeated every single measure to make voting more accessible for qualified Virginia voters,” McQuinn said. “[They] have blocked legislation to institute an early voting period, expand No-Excuse Absentee voting, extend voting hours and a host of other bills to improve access to the ballot box,” she said.

As I have noted before, one almost expects to see white sheets and hoods handed out at the start of all local GOP city and county committee meetings.   Should this actually happen, at least Virginia Republicans would be displaying honesty as to their true agenda.

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