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.“