Mark Herring vs. Mark Obenshain Part 2, This Time on What Constitutes a Valid Photo ID for Voting

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    Back in June, I posted about how State Senator Mark “Criminalize Miscarriages” Obenshain (R, of course) was keeping busy these days by fighting to keep as many people as possible from voting. yeah, ya know, everyone’s gotta have something to fight for, and for Obenshain, screwing up our democracy is how he chooses to spend his days.

    Specifically, Obenshain has been attempting to bully the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) into reversing its plans to eliminate the current 30-day limit on expired IDs for voting purposes. Note that SBE Secretary Don Palmer was appointed by Governor Bob McDonnell in 2011 and served in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department, so he’s certainly no liberal. According to Palmer, eliminating the “current 30-day limit on expired IDs should not be considered controversial.” Yet for Obenshain, it’s problematic, given his desire to make it as hard as possible for people – particularly people who tend to vote for Democrats – to vote.

    Well, now, Attorney General Mark Herring’s office has issued legal advice (starting on page 37) to the State Board of Elections on the matter, and it completely contradicts what Obenshain is arguing. To the stark contrary, the Virginia Attorney General’s office says:

    *Obenshain’s preferred definition of “valid” would  “lead to inconsistent application and disparate treatment of voters across the Commonwealth.”

    *Furthermore, Obenshain’s preferred definition of “valid” would be “problematic for unintended reasons because it would also classify unexpired identification as invalid in certain circumstances.”

    *All that would result in an “impossible burden…placed on the election officials with a high likelihood of varying interpretation as to the validity of the identification presented by voters.” This would be “in direct contradiction of the Board’s duty to ensure uniformity in elections and contrary to the Board’s statutory duties and thus inconsistent with state law.”

    *Last but not least, the “proposed amendment likely violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in that it would lead to an inconsistent result in its application and disparate treatment of voters from one jurisdiction to another.”

    *Ergo, the Virginia Attorney General’s office is “unable to provide” the SBE with “the requisite assurance” as to the SBE’s proposed amendment, supported by Mark Obenshain.

    Of course, when the SBE meets tomorrow, it could go ahead and ignore the AG’s legal advice. If so, there will likely be a court challenge, which the SBE (and of course Mark “Criminalize Miscarriages” Obenshain) would be quite likely to lose. So that will be VERY interesting to watch.

    Meanwhile, 2013 loser Mark “Criminalize Miscarriages” Obenshain is doing what he does best, ranting and raving on his Facebook wall about how Attorney General Mark Herring’s office supposedly “has subordinated impartial legal analysis to the advancement of a political agenda, no matter how many contortions that requires.” Obenshain adds, for good measure, “So much for taking the politics out of the Attorney General’s office.” Oh, and Obenshain also somehow manages to find a “disturbing pattern, already the norm in Washington and increasingly prevalent in Richmond, in which the executive branch blithely disregards or disingenuously reinterprets laws it doesn’t like.” Paranoid as well as extreme? Why do those two characteristics so often seem to go together? Hmmmm.

    You’ve really gotta love these right wingnuts, who are thrilled when “conservative” activist judges overturn the results of elections (Bush v Gore) or confer more and more rights onto corporations (Citizens United, Hobby Lobby), or…a million other examples. But when an Attorney General attempts to protect people’s right to vote and equal treatment under the law, they go ballistic. Nope, no hypocrisy here whatsoever, move right along…heh.

    P.S. For more of Obenshain’s unhinged ravings, click here.