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VA GOP Theme for Yesterday: War on Women. VA GOP Theme For Today: War on Voting Rights.

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Yesterday’s theme here in Virginia was the war on a woman’s right to control her own body, make her own medical decisions, etc. Today’s theme? Check out the statement below, by the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus, regarding – as Sen. John Edwards puts it, “the worst of the Republican agenda, turning back the clock by suppressing the poor, the elderly, and minorities from voting.” As usual, with Virginia Republicans, it’s truly appalling and utterly unjustifiable. For more on what this is really all about, check out the Richmond Free Press.

General Assembly Republicans Restrict Voting Rights

Senate Bill 1 to land on Governor Bob McDonnell’s desk

Today House Republicans voted to place unprecedented restrictions on the right of Virginians to vote. Senate Bill 1 previously passed the Senate over the objections of a united Democratic caucus, and passed the House of Delegates today on a largely party line vote.

Senate Bill 1, a top priority of Virginia Republicans, creates an onerous new standard of identification that all Virginians must meet in order to vote. Citizens who cannot present an accepted form of identification will be barred from voting, and will be given a provisional ballot that is often not counted. Those impacted by this legislation are overwhelmingly the young, the elderly, minorities, and disabled Virginians.

“Republicans in the Senate and House voted for Senate Bill 1 in the name of preventing voter fraud, but the effect of this bill will be to suppress turnout among poor and minority Virginians,” said Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton). “Senate Bill 1 will make it more difficult for older folks to vote, for lower-income Virginians to vote, for those with disabilities, and for African-Americans to vote,” Senator Locke added.

I am dismayed and disappointed that Republican Delegates have voted to deny Virginians the right to vote. It is clear that Senate Bill 1 is not really about protecting the voting process, but about making it more difficult for the most disadvantaged members of society to vote,” said Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico), chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Sen. Chap Peterson (D-Fairfax City) pointed out that if fraud were occurring, citizens defrauded of their vote would likely go to the police-but there are no such reports. “Instead, we are hearing from all corners of the Commonwealth that their grandparents, their sons, and their daughters won’t be able to vote because of these unnecessary, cumbersome restrictions.” he said.

Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke City) said, “Republicans have failed to listen to the people of Virginia. Senate Bill 1 represents the worst of the Republican agenda, turning back the clock by suppressing the poor, the elderly, and minorities from voting.

  • Ingrid

    There are several states in which similar laws are being challenged, so they cannot take effect until settled. I am hoping that would happen in VA as well.

  • You hear Republicans talk a lot about the integrity of the ballot.  Democrats talk about access to the ballot.  What happened here is that they have traded a whole lot of access for a little bit more integrity.  

  • pol

    Am I not correct that Virginia is one of the states to which Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act applies?  So, I would think this is not a done deal.

  • HOUSE DEMOCRATS DENOUNCE PASSAGE OF VOTER SUPPRESSION BILLS

    Richmond – The General Assembly saw final passage of controversial voter ID bills this afternoon after weeks of protest and debate. HB9/SB1 requires Virginians to show an ID before they vote on a regular ballot, and forces those without ID to vote on a provisional ballot that may not be counted unless the voter returns at a later date to prove their identity.  SB57, which adds an arbitrary 5-day waiting period between registration and in-person absentee voting, also passed today.

    “It’s become a cliche, but Republicans continue to press for legislation that restricts and limits voter participation under the guise of voter fraud – a solution in search of a problem,” remarked House Democratic Caucus Chair Mark Sickles (D-Franconia). “It’s no coincidence that Republicans are dead-set on making it harder to vote in a presidential election year in which Virginia will play a vital role.”

    “The shameful passage of these bills is just another reminder that Gov. McDonnell’s call not to be arrogant or overreach was ignored,” said Del. Rosalyn Dance (D-Petersburg), a member of the House Privileges and Elections Committee that considered the controversial bills. “For voters who lack ID because they are elderly, transient, or on the lower end of the economic scale, Virginia Republicans just put up some significant and unnecessary roadblocks.”

    Earlier in the session, Republicans also passed HB63, which restricts advocacy during the counting of provisional ballots in the days following an election. Due to the passage of HB9/SB1, thousands of additional provisional votes are expected statewide in November