Government & Politics
4:20 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Voter Registration Oversight

Governor McDonnell has signed two bills into law that require more rigorous oversight of Virginia’s voter registration rolls. 

He also signed a third law to require voters to present photo IDs at the polls, which would take effect in 2014.  

This month, a former Maryland congressional candidate, Wendy Rosen, pleaded guilty to voting illegally in Maryland in two elections. She had also voted in Florida.  A new Virginia law will make it harder to vote in two states, says the bill’s sponsor, Delegate Rob Bell.

“The only way to find out if someone has left Virginia and moved to Mississippi is for Mississippi and Virginia to work together.  There’s about 25 states that are willing to cooperate.  We will now add ourselves to that list so we can work with them.”   
 
A second new law mandates routine checks to identify felons on the rolls. The third law requires voters to use photo IDs at the polls and requires the state to provide free IDs to those who don’t have them.  It also removes some forms of ID used last year, such as utility bills.  Governor McDonnell said on WTOP that the new law balances ballot security with civil liberties.

“There was good compliance with the bill last year.  That doesn’t mean it is sufficient scrutiny to be sure that when a voter shows up with an ID that does not have his or her picture, that that is sufficient to be able to determine whether or not it IS that voter.”
 
The photo ID law will now undergo Justice Department review.

In a written statement, “Progress Virginia” said the law makes it harder for many Virginians to vote by requiring a special ID.  It also said the requirement that voters travel to a registrar's office to obtain a new ID is an unnecessary and costly burden on low-income voters.