|Action||Revise Valid Definition|
|Comment Period||Ended on 8/4/2014|
This proposed change in policy seeks to give up a lot of access in exchange for the notion of increasing “ballot integrity.”
Some Virginians are convinced that, through coordinated voter fraud, the integrity of the ballot is constantly under attack and that such actions dilute the power of “one man, one vote.” Other commenters may have already dispelled this myth but, if you’d like more information, I refer you to a study which found that voter impersonation (the type which Voter Photo ID laws seek to prevent) accounted for about one in 15 million voters.
Nonetheless, a sizable number of voter integrity advocates such as Sen. Obenshain are driven by misinformation; as demonstrated by a recent poll which found that almost 50% of Republicans believe ACORN stole the 2012 election (despite the fact that ACORN had long been defunct). As a result, we have laws and policies like the one we're considering today.
The access concept is pretty straightforward: it means every citizen should have the right to vote, and the ability to exercise that right should be made as simple as possible in order to expand civic participation. If you believe voting is a right, not a privilege (such as the privilege of having a driver’s license), then I urge you to reject Sen. Obenshain’s proposal.
No matter what you believe, the fact is that the amount of integrity gained is either infinitesimally small or nonexistent compared to the thousands of voters whose IDs would be rendered ineligible by this proposed policy.
Most Voter ID advocates have never had any difficulty obtaining an ID themselves. They don’t understand that for some Virginians, this added difficulty will deter them from going to the polls. It is inevitable that already as a result of the existing voter ID law, many thousands of Virginians will believe (either correctly or incorrectly) that they are unable to obtain the proper ID for voting. Imposing another restriction banning expired IDs -- despite the fact that other IDs without expiration dates will be accepted -- would just compound the problem and disenfranchise even more voters.
The reality is that this proposal would result in fewer people voting. Any time you put up additional obstacles to voting, you cause confusion and discourage people from participating. And when Republicans do it for no defensible reason whatsoever – to solve a problem that frankly does not exist – they reveal their true motivations.
Yes, I am a Democrat and yes, it is proven that when more citizens vote, Democrats win. Republicans know this, and have calculated that it is easier to stop people from voting than it is to go out and earn those votes. It’s a short-sighted move; part of a strategy that may produce some victories in the near term, but will inevitably cause unnecessary resentment that could last more than a generation.
Thanks for your consideration,
Executive Director, Fairfax County Democratic Committee
2815 Hartland Rd. Suite 110
Falls Church, VA 22043