January 7, 2013
Delegate Rob Bell announced on Monday the introduction of his "Photo ID - No Exceptions" bill to the General Assembly. Executive Director of ProgressVA, denounces the bill.
Governor Bob McDonnell signed a new voter-ID law last year taking out the provision that allowed Virginians to vote without identification at the polls while expanding the types of ID's accepted.
Delegate Rob Bell's bill proposes photo identifications with no exceptions.
"We will provide it for you if you can't afford it and it means that the people who are eligible will have their votes counted and they won't be diluted by people who are not eligible," Delegate Bell said.
Democrats argue the effort is to take power away from minorities, the elderly, students and other groups who tend to vote democratic. The Executive Director of ProgressVA says Bell's bill might sound good but it will really make it harder for some to exercise their right to vote.
"In a lot of cases it amounts to a poll tax. To take that time out of their day, to not earn money, for folks who are working an hourly wage or multiple jobs to support a family and all for a really unnecessary measure," said Anna Scholl.
She says especially since the state has spent over a million dollars to implement the voter ID law from last year, now is not the time.
"Spending another several million dollars to outfit folks with a new voter ID, particularly when the state is facing budget cutbacks and trying to figure out where the best place is to reallocate funds, is incredibly wasteful. We should we focusing on putting Virginians back to work, investing in our infrastructure and investing in our education," she said.
"The goal is just to make sure the people voting are the ones who they say they are," Delegate Bell said.
The bill would require Virginians to present a valid government issued-photo identification in order to vote.
Current law allows for voters to use non-photo documents such as utility bills to establish identity at the polls on Election Day.
“There is a video on the Internet of a political operative discussing how to forge utility bills on Election Day. Current ID rules are not enough. We need to stop voter fraud before it happens,” said Bell. “It’s impossible to fix the problem after non-citizens and felons have cast ballots. What you have then is a tainted election."
Bell's bill would also provide a photo ID at no charge, if the voter can't afford it.
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