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Mark Cole, Republican delegate to Virginia Assembly.
Mark Cole
Veteran Republican Delegate Mark Cole isn't happy with Virginia's non-photo voter ID law and he plans to introduce legislation to fix it as the legislature in Richmond comes back into session this week. You would think he would leave well enough alone since the U.S. Department of Justice approved the state's existing voter ID law last August, the only such law to pass federal scrutiny under the Voting Rights Act in 2012.

But noooo.

He wants the only acceptable identifications for voting to be a government issued ID, social security card or voter registration card. That would eliminate utility bills, paychecks, bank statements, government checks or a current Virginia college ID that the state senate added to the list of allowable voter IDs under legislation it passed in May.

The Justice Department reviewed the legislation because of Virginia's history of voter discrimination under Jim Crow laws that once excluded blacks from casting ballots. Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, 16 states or parts of states are required to obtain federal clearance before they can change their voter laws. The feds nixed new voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina in 2012.

As with all such cases, Cole's legislation is a solution in search of a problem since voter impersonation is so rare as to be almost non-existent. But his proposal may succeed if a challenge to Section 5 in the case of Shelby County (Alabama) v. Holder is favored by a majority of U.S Supreme Court justices.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:11 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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