The Virginia State Senate has passed legislation making voter ID requirements more restrictive. The vote was along party lines, with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling casting the tie-breaking vote. It now heads to the Governor for his signature or veto.
Since it is a statewide bill, the Justice Department will have approve it under the Voting Rights Act before it goes into force.
Right now, Virginia has a voter ID requirement, but one can instead choose to sign an affidavit swearing to their identity and that they're only voting once. The new bill, marked SB 1 in the legislature, would make showing proof of ID mandatory in order to vote; if one does not have their ID with them, they would be forced to cast a provisional ballot, to be counted only if they present proof of identification to the county registrar.
The new bill does allow for a fairly wide range of forms of ID:
The bill would allow voters to present any of several documents as valid identification, including a driver's license, voter registration card, government-issued photo ID, social security card, bank statement or utility bill. The Senate approved an amendment Monday to add student ID cards issued by Virginia four-year colleges to the list of acceptable forms of identification.Which, to me, lays bare the claim that this is to prevent voter fraud. If I got someone's old utility bill, I could claim to be whoever I wanted. It's not like it has a photo of the unfortunate person on it. Republicans are not at all interested in preventing the ridiculously rare occurrence of voter fraud; they simply want to make it harder to vote.
The Senate also passed a separate bill (SB 663) Monday that would add concealed handgun permits to that list of acceptable voter identifications. Sen. Ralph Smith, R-Roanoke County, is sponsoring the bill.
10:24 AM PT: It should be noted that the bill as introduced did not allow for a voter registration card to be used as valid ID; this provision was removed in committee, and a provision added for bank statements and utility bills to be considered valid ID. The full text of the bill as passed by the Senate is here.