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Virginia's Voter ID Law Takes Effect

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Election day in Virginia this year will involve identification requirements, thanks to a law passed by the General Assembly this year.
Michael Pope
Election day in Virginia this year will involve identification requirements, thanks to a law passed by the General Assembly this year.

The voter identification measure that arguably dominated the Virginia's General Assembly session goes into effect this week. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) signed the bill into law, although he didn't agree with some of the provisions. He later issued an executive order as a compromise.  

The voter ID laws establish that a voter who doesn't show an ID can no longer just sign a sworn statement that he's the named registered voter. 

Opponents argued that it's an effort to disenfranchise voters, especially minorities and that there's been no need to strengthen the law. But State Sen. Tom Garrett (R-Lynchburg) counters that while he was Louisa County's Commonwealth's Attorney, there were at least two instances of voter fraud by two groups.

"In one of those instances, a group called 'Women's Voices-Women's Votes' which is part of the Tides Center, has solicited the registration, and when the person who illegally registered queried as to whether or not this was a problem they said, 'don't worry about it, nobody will check and even if they do, nobody will do anything about it,'" Garrett says. "So, you know there are loopholes in the system that some groups, it would appear, are actively seeking to exploit. All we want to do is close the barn door before the horses get out."

Acceptable forms of identification will include utility bills, student and employer IDs, and bank statements. The Governor issued an executive order for the state to send new voter ID cards to all Virginians who are registered and to launch an awareness campaign about the new voting process and the need for proper identification.

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