|Action||Revise Valid Definition|
|Comment Period||Ends 8/4/2014|
As a Virginia citizen and voter, I am deeply concerned about the implications of adopting the voter ID regulations proposed by Senator Mark Obenshain. I believe the proposal to categorize expired photo identifications as unacceptable for purposes of voter identification is not only unnecessary, but threatens the fundamental right to vote.
The purported purpose of the original voter ID law was to prevent in-person voter fraud, a phenomenon which is essentially nonexistent in the state of Virginia. Thus, the only use of a photo ID is to establish a visual connection between the picture on the card and the person attempting to cast a vote. The photo ID’s capacity in that regard is only dependent on the photograph it contains; whether or not the identification card is expired has no bearing on the election official’s ability to use it to visually identify a voter. Election officials do not need to know whether a voter is still licensed to drive in Virginia; they merely need to establish a visual similarity. The law already contains a provision requiring that “the bearer of the document reasonably appears to be the person whose photograph is contained thereon.” As an expired and a non-expired ID function identically with regards to the intent of the original law, this proposed regulation is completely unnecessary.
As a further issue, this regulation would needlessly deprive hundreds of thousands of hard-working Virginia voters from participating in the electoral process. As I recall, the right to vote is extended by constitutional mandate to residents of our state on the basis of citizenship, not access to a DMV office.
I implore the Board of Elections to reject the proposed regulation on voter ID laws. Regardless of the intent of its sponsor, its overall effect would be to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Virginia citizens in order to fight a “problem” that doesn’t even exist. That is simply something that we cannot afford.