Integrity at the Polls
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Results of a Quinnipiac University poll released in February 2013 indicate that Virginia voters favor a photo ID policy by a 3-1 margin statewide.  The Virginian-Pilot summarizes:

Asked, “Do you think voters should or should not be required to show a photo identification before they are allowed to vote on Election Day in Virginia?” 75 percent of respondents said they should be required, compared with 23 percent who didn’t agree.

State Senator Mark Obenshain has been calling for voter reforms for years. This is extremely important for democracy to function because citizens need confidence in the election process. The current momentum in support of Voter ID’s may be in part a response to the scandal involving U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, D-Arlington, where his son, Patrick Moran, was serving as field director for his father but was caught on camera discussing how to use forged utility bills to cast ballots under other people’s names. Nationwide, similar scandals abound. For example, one Ohio poll worker may have voted 6 times. She showed no regret, explaining that she wanted her vote for Obama to count. Incidents like these shake voter’s confidence in the electoral process.

Thankfully, with the current momentum, two of Obenshain’s bills relating to voter integrity have passed in the Virginia legislature and are awaiting the governor’s signature. Senator Mark Obenshain understands how to safe guard liberty and freedom.  (UPDATE: SB 1256 was signed into law by Governor McDonnell on 3/25/2013.)

  • Photo ID for Voting (SB 1256). This bill would require photo identification to vote (either a driver’s license, passport, an employee or Virginia college student ID card with a photo, or any other government-issued photo identification), and provide for a free voting-only photo ID card for voters lacking ID.  Photo identification was a recommendation of the bipartisan Carter-Baker Commission and would help instill confidence in the electoral process.  Obenshain wants to make sure that every legitimate vote counts and that no one’s vote is diluted by voter fraud.
  • Citizenship Screening on Voter Rolls (SB 1077).  “This bill would enable the State Board of Elections to seek authorization to use the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement (SAVE) Program database as an additional tool to keep Virginia voter rolls clean, accurate, and up-to-date.”  Obenshain explains that due to Motor Vehicle, many people registered to vote may not be qualified to vote. “Having ineligible voters on the rolls is more than just a matter of added paperwork; it creates the potential for fraud even if the person who is erroneously registered never has any intention of voting fraudulently.”  This bill would ensure that voter’s list are accurate and the potential for abuse, whether intentional or unintentional is limited.  Obenshain’s bill passed the Senate 23-17 and the House 70-30.

Obenshain takes issue with the Democratic Party of Virginia Chair Charniele Herring, a member of the House of Delegates, who stated that photo ID requirements are “un-American.”  Apparently she disagrees with the 75% of Virginia voters who support photo ID – including 95% of Republicans, 78% of independents, and 57% of Democrats.

Whether you are Democrat or Republican, I hope you see the wisdom of the legislation proposed by Senator Mark Obenshain.

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