Late last Friday afternoon, Gov. McDonnell signed legislation that requires all prospective voters to present a valid form of identification before casting his or her vote. While many Republicans argue that the measure is a necessary prevention of voter fraud, many Democrats argue that it amounts to voter suppression.
New accepted forms of identification
- Virginia voter registration card
- Social Security card
- Valid Virginia driver’s license
- Any other identification card issued by an agency of the Commonwealth, one of its political subdivisions, or the United States
- Any valid student identification card issued by a Virginia institution of higher education
- A valid identification card issued by an employer containing a photograph of the voter
- A copy of a current utility bill
- A copy of a bank statement
- A government check
- A paycheck that shows the name and address of the voter.
Last Friday Gov. Bob McDonnell signed legislation that will require voters to present a valid form of identification before casting their ballots. Currently, Virginians can vote in elections without personal identification as long as they sign a document pledging their true identity–that will no longer be permissible.
“This legislation does two things,” said Gov. McDonnell in a statement. “It increases the forms of identification that can be used for purpose of voting, while helping to further prevent voter fraud and ensuring Virginians that they can have faith that votes have not been fraudulently cast.”
Many Democrats decry the new law, with some suggesting that it is a Republican ploy to limit voting by the poor, elderly, and minorities, blocks of the public that have historically voted for Democrats.
Del. Jennifer McClellan said that the bill “risks placing undue burdens on Virginians exercising their right to vote with no compelling evidence of a pattern of voters pretending to be someone they are not.” Del. McClellan did, however, laud Gov. McDonnell’s increase of acceptable forms of identification.
The governor also issued an executive order that requires the State Board of Elections to issue voter cards to every registered Virginia voter before the November election.
Gov. McDonnell: “Some have argued that there are voters who do not have any form of ID to bring to the polls. For that reason, we will be sending every voter in Virginia a free voter card between now and Election Day to ensure they have at least one form of ID to bring with them to the polls.”
It is still unknown how much money the issuance of these voting cards will cost taxpayers.
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Photo by: Theresa Thompson