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ProgressVA Condemns Possible New Restrictions on Voting in Virginia, Urges Gov. McDonnell Veto

by: lowkell

Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 15:38:57 PM EST

From Progress Virginia:


ProgressVA Statement on House Passage of SB1256

Voting rights advocates call on Governor McDonnell to veto new voting restrictions


Richmond, VA - ProgressVA this afternoon condemned the House of Delegates passage of SB1256 and SB1077, new restrictions that will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of Virginians to vote. ProgressVA called on Governor McDonnell to veto new voting restrictions. Executive Director Anna Scholl released the following statement.

"Our elections should be free, fair, and accessible. Instead of addressing the long waits many voters faced at the polls last year, politicians are pushing new restrictions that will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of Virginians to vote. We ask Governor McDonnell to veto these new restrictions and protect Virginians' fundamental right to vote. Virginia changed the voting rules just last year and there's no evidence the new law isn't working. Changing the rules again will only confuse and discourage voters from participating in our democracy. We've never solved anything in this country with less democracy and we shouldn't start now."

SB1256, sponsored by Senator Mark Obenshain, would institute a strict photo ID requirement for Virginia voters. According to the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, the bill would make it harder for hundreds of thousands of Virginians to vote while costing the Commonwealth between $7 and $22 million. SB1077, also sponsored by Senator Obenshain and which the House of Delegates passed this afternoon, would require the State Board of Elections to check registrants' citizenship against an incomplete federal database which will result in eligible voters being purged from the rolls.

lowkell :: ProgressVA Condemns Possible New Restrictions on Voting in Virginia, Urges Gov. McDonnell Veto
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RICHMOND- Today, House Democrats called on Governor McDonnell to veto a Republican bill that will make voting more difficult for hundreds of thousands of Virginia seniors, college students, and low-income working men and women.

Senator Obenshain's, SB 1256, mandates that all voters present photo-identification to be eligible to cast a ballot.  This measure is financially burdensome on seniors and low-income workers who will be forced to pay for transportation to and from a registrar's office and take time off from work to obtain the new identification.

The measure is also costly to the Virginia taxpayer.  The Commonwealth Institute estimates that implementation will cost between $7.29 million and $21.75 million.

"We are the world's leading democracy and should be setting the standard for free and fair elections," said DPVA Chairwoman Delegate Charniele Herring. "Today, House Republicans delivered a major setback to Virginia's democracy and made it harder for Virginians to vote, including seniors. Governor McDonnell should veto this extreme anti-voting bill and work to make sure that the Commonwealth's elections remain open and accessible to all qualified voters."

"Voting brings together Americans of all ages, races, ethnicities, and income-levels.  Unfortunately, Republicans defeated every common sense election reform bill to make voting more accessible for all qualified Virginia voters," said Delegate Jennifer McClellan (D- Richmond City).  "Now, in the final days of legislative session, House Republicans passed a bill that will make it harder and more costly for hundreds of thousands of seniors, students, and low-income citizens to vote.  I hope that Governor McDonnell will do the right thing by Virginia's seniors and working men and women and veto this anti-voting bill."

"Voting is a sacred right and we should work to make sure that every qualified citizen is able to participate in our democracy.  Today's actions by House Republicans will impose barriers to voting for hundreds of thousands of Virginia low-income workers, seniors, and college student and cost the Commonwealth millions," said Delegate Joe Morrissey (D- Henrico).  "I urge Governor McDonnell to make the right choice for our democracy and Virginia taxpayers and veto this misguided bill."

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