- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
Divided Virginia Senate passes voter ID bill
Question of the Day
RICHMOND — The Virginia Senate on Monday signed off on legislation that would require voters who can’t produce identification at the polls or are not recognized by an election officer to cast their ballot provisionally, a hot-button measure opponents claim is unnecessary and will suppress the vote.
The Senate deadlocked 20-20 on the bill, with Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling providing the tie-breaking vote. Currently, voters can simply sign a sworn affidavit saying they are who they say they are if they don’t bring identification to the polls.
Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, Harrisonburg Republican, said the bill is “intended to discourage one thing and one thing only: voter fraud.”
The amended version approved Monday expands forms of identification voters can use to include student identification cards or copies of utility bills or bank statements, for example. Registrars or local electoral boards would not have to follow up beyond matching identification documents against the voter rolls to determine whether the ballot would count.
The issue has been a particularly sensitive one both around the country and in Virginia, one of a handful of states that must pre-clear changes to its voting laws or procedures with the U.S. Department of Justice because of its history of racial discrimination at the polls.
“I’m old enough to remember Virginia’s inglorious voting history,” said Sen. Yvonne B. Miller, Virginia Beach Democrat. “This is called chilling the vote. There are reasons that people give that may make it for some Virginians. It does not make it with me.”
“Although I won’t change any person’s mind, I will say to you that this is another day of shame for Virginia,” she added.
Opponents argue that without widespread reports of voter fraud in the state, the bill is unnecessary at best and intentionally punitive at worst. But proponents say claims about the bill’s true intentions and effects are grossly exaggerated.
Sen. Stephen H. Martin, Chesterfield Republican and the sponsor of the original Senate version of the bill, said that if arguments put forth by Democrats that the bill would require people to come back to the polling place a second time or prevent elderly people without birth certificates from voting were true, it wouldn’t have been introduced.
“Don’t fall for the rhetoric,” he said before the vote.
The bill now returns to the House of Delegates, which passed it earlier, for a review of amendments.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Buyers form trusts to get guns that are off-limits
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- Scientists could unlock mystery of life beyond Earth within a decade
- House Democrats give grudging support to 10-year gun ban extension
- Extending plastic gun ban just first step?
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Federal deficit shrinks 20 percent in fiscal 2014
- Colorado judge: Bakery owner discriminated against gay couple
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Great discoveries in the world of restaurants and chefs fulfill the quest for delicious food and cooking.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Red Alert focuses on the hottest political topics in the nation and calls Americans to action.
History doesn't have to be grim; there is a lot to be learned from the pages of time.
White House pets gone wild!