A Virginia General Assembly member intends to add more limits to the state’s voter ID law in time for the next election, warning of voter impersonation. Republican Delegate Mark Cole (VA) thinks the standing law is too flexible and will introduce a new voter ID bill that would prevent voters from using documentation like paycheck stubs to prove their identity.
Cole claims that, hypothetically, someone could pose as a legitimate voter at the polls, even though voter fraud has been proven to be exceedingly rare. But Republicans have used the threat of voter fraud to introduce more hurdles for minority voters, seniors, students to cast their ballots. Virginia Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli (R) recently called for stricter requirements because Obama “can’t win a state where photo ID is required.”
Virginia’s voter ID law, while unnecessary, was less burdensome than strict ID rules in other states. Virginia’s law allowed voters to use a voter registration card, Social Security card, driver’s license, government-issued ID, photo ID from their job, utility bill, paycheck, bank statement, government check or a current Virginia college ID. It was also one of the few laws cleared by the Justice Department because it would not disproportionately harm minority voters’ rights.
But Cole’s new voter ID proposal would only let voters use government-issued ID, a social security card or a voter registration card, resembling other voter ID laws that were struck down in court because they were found to have a disproportionate impact on minorities, low-income voters, and seniors.
The plan would undoubtedly add to the problems exposed in the dysfunctional 2012 election. Virginian voters waited in marathon lines long after polls were officially closed, while a GOP firm was caught tampering with voter registration forms. The state also spent nearly $2 million in taxpayer money to send all registered voters a legitimate ID card.