WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Virginia Assembly Passes Stricter Voter ID Laws

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Virginia voters would no longer be able to present certain forms of identification at the polls under legislation that has passed both houses of the General Assembly. The bills take slightly different forms, and one is subject to General Assembly funding for voter education and outreach.

Both bills eliminate government checks, pay stubs, Social Security cards, utility bills, and bank statements as forms of identification that can be used at the polls. Voter ID cards, concealed-carry permits, driver's licenses, and student IDs could still be used.

Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) said many poor senior citizens don't have those remaining forms.

"They don't drive anymore. They don't have a valid driver's license," McClellan says. "They don't have a concealed weapons permit. They're retired, so they don't have an employer ID. They're not students."

Delegate Mark Cole defended his bill.

"This bill just cleans up the list of items that are very weak forms of ID," Cole said. "Every person who registers to vote gets a voter registration card."

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling's (R) tie-breaking vote helped Democrats amend the Senate bill to require voter outreach funding to take effect and delays the effective date to next year. The Senate later passed a photo ID requirement that also added passports. This bill directs the state to provide free voter registration cards with photos for people without other forms of ID.

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