Cross posted from Blue Virginia
This morning in the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates, a nasty piece of voter disenfranchisement legislation, HB 9, passed out of committee on a 15-6 vote. Sponsored by Del. Mark Cole (R-Spotsylvania), this bill would effectively "suppress the vote of the elderly, the young, the poor and minorities," whil addressing the non-existent, figment-of-Republicans'-fevered-imaginations problem known as "voter fraud." Here's what ProgressVA has to say about this abomination. Also, check out the audio of Del. Cole admitting that he has no knowledge of any instances of voter fraud. Finally, check out what AARP Virginia thinks, which is that "Passing this measure could disenfranchise nearly one-fifth of the older population because nearly one in five people over age 65 do not have a government issued photo ID." Wow, I wonder what Republican seniors will think of this?!?
ProgressVA Statement on House Privileges and Elections Committee Vote to Report HB9
ProgressVA, a progressive advocacy organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Anna Scholl on the House Privileges and Elections Committee vote this morning to report HB to the full House. HB 9, sponsored by Delegate Mark Cole, would make it significantly harder for thousands of Virginians to vote.
“We’re deeply disappointed by this vote to advance unnecessary legislation that will make it harder for thousands of registered Virginia voters to cast a ballot. Both Delegate Cole, the sponsor of this measure, and Justin Reimer of the State Board of Elections have admitted during debate on this bill that they know of no documented cases of the voter fraud. Quite simply, our voting system isn’t broke, so why on earth are our representatives advancing unneeded and potentially expensive solutions to “fix” it? Voting is a fundamental American right and freedom. Making it harder for Virginians to vote in order to fix a problem that doesn’t exist is a waste of the legislature’s time and taxpayer money.”
During a January 12th meeting of the House Privileges and Elections Committee Elections Subcommittee, Del. Sickles inquired as to whether Del. Cole was aware of any instances of voter fraud, which HB 9 is designed to combat. He responded “No, not to my knowledge.” (Audio of that meeting is available online.)
During the House Privileges and Elections Committee hearing this morning, Delegate Alexander asked Justin Reimer of the State Board of Elections: “Do you have a quantified number, do you receive numbers from the registrars or others that report to you that they have had voter identification fraud at their polling places?” Mr. Reimer responded: “Delegate, I have no specific statistics on that."
P.S. For national readers, let me just point out that Virginia is a crucial swing state for President Obama in 2012, one which he carried in 2008 - the first time a Democratic presidential candidate had carried Virginia since LBJ in 1964. You think Republicans might just be trying to head this off by disenfranchising young people, minorities, and also seniors without IDs?
P.P.S. Also note, as of this month, Republicans have taken control of the Virginia State Senate. They also, of course, control the governor's mansion. That means that heinous bills, including numerous ALEC sponsored monstrosities, such as the one discussed above, could actually become law this year, unlike in the past when the (formerly) Democratic-controlled Senate killed them. Needless to say, this is not good.
UPDATE: Also, please sign ProgressVA's petition if you can. Thanks.