Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Elections
State Board of Elections
Voter Registration [1 VAC 20 ‑ 40]
Chapter is Exempt from Article 2 of the Administrative Process Act
Action Revise Valid Definition
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ended on 8/4/2014
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7/26/14  3:18 am
Commenter: Todd Thurwachter, American Foreign Service Association (employer)

Outrageous New Obstacle on Top of an Already Outrageous GOP Attempt to Suppress Voting

For decades and decades, people went to vote with the voter ID mailed to them by the State.  Regardless of whether they drove or traveled overseas (and thus had a photo ID courtesy of driver's license or passport), they could vote without any questions.

Then suddenly, after the young and other new voters enabled Obama to win in 2008, ALEC (the big-business alliance with Republican legislators) created model legislation to fight the greatest threat to the integrity of elections:  individuals who would impersonate another person in order to vote.  Despite how preposterous this is -- individual misrepresenting themselves in order to vote as if they were somebody else (and being denied if the impersonated voter had already voted or the impersonated voter being denied if the imposter had voted, meaning that either the voter impersonation wouldn't work or, if it did, it would be discovered as soon as the impersonated voter showed up to vote).  Despite being easily detected, there are virtually no reported cases of (true) voter impersonation fraud.  It's just not a practical, efficient means to "cheat" on elections.  In contrast, absentee ballots by mail has traditionally been an areas where masses of fradulant ballots could be collected.  Yet, that legitimate area of potential voting fraud hasn't even been touched by this partisan, Republican voter ID legislation.  Just the non-existant "voter impersonation" threat, which disproportionately disenfranchizes the young (many of whom increasingly don't drive (particularly urban) and thus don't have drivers liceneses), minorities/new voters, and the elderly.  So the whole "voter photo ID" requirement is a blatant and obvious attempt at suppression of voters who are more likely to vote for Democrats than Republicans.  

So now, after requiring a "photo ID" to vote, in order to protect against a type of fraud that doesn't, for all intents and purposes, even exist, Republicans are pushing to invalidate, for the purpose of voter ID, driver's licenses and passports, etc., which have expired.  This is adding insult to injury.  Drivers' licenses and passports expire for reasons totally unrelated to the ability of the photo to identify the individual -- revenue or the need to collect fees every few years, vision and hearing tests for operating a car, new traffic regulations, etc.  What about the elderly, who are still faithful in their voting habits but who may have stopped driving and let their licenses expire?  It's a real slap in the face, particularly when one considers the cost/inconvience for those without cars to get to a government center to procure a "free" Photo ID, and ONLY if they know about it (believe me, educating EVERY voter of the new photo ID requirement is no small feat, and Virginia is NOT mounting a massive outreach/advertising campaign's to insure every voter knows whether or not they have a valid photo ID.  So DON'T add insult to injury by invalidating valid government-issued photo ID's which may have expired, do to reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with the function of identifying an individual from their photo.

The Republicans who are pushing this -- who are trying to make it harder for people to vote, to restrict the electorate --  should be ashamed of themselves.  Their blatant partisianship, which has already given us an 8(GOP)/3(Democrat) congressional delegation even though in 2012, more Virginians voted for Democrats for Congress than for Republicans, should not be rewarded with yet another requirement which has nothing to do with insuring a person is who they purport to be.

Todd Thurwachter

PS:  And please don't sucker for that GOP bromide -- you need a photo ID to get on an airplane.  First, getting on an airplane is NOT a right like voting is.  Second, you DON'T need a photo ID to get on an airplane; if you can't produce a photo ID, you generally have to undergo additional security, however.  The SBE should not be taken in by this partisan, transparent ploy to suppress voting.


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