UPDATE 3:22 PM January 7, 2013
Several voting rights groups have responded against Bell's proposed photo ID law.
The Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN) calls the proposal "disappointing". While Richmond NAACP President Dr. Kim Allen said, "lawmakers remain dogged in their attempts to make it harder to vote."
The groups are also concerned about the cost of implementing a photo ID system, citing that Indiana spent over $10 million between 2007-2010 to hand out 771,017 free photo IDs.
Courtney Mills, staff attorney with FELN, said, "The General Assembly passed a new voter ID bill in the last legislative session which cost the Commonwealth valuable resources and money to implement. By introducing another voter ID bill, Delegate Bell is simply playing politics with the right to vote instead of focusing on improving the Commonwealth for all Virginians."
ProgressVA points out that over 20 million people nationwide do not have government-issued photo identification.
January 7, 2013
Delegate Rob Bell announced on Monday the introduction of his "Photo ID - No Exceptions" bill to the General Assembly.
The bill would require Virginians to present a valid government issued-photo identification in order to vote.
Current law allows for voters to use non-photo documents such as utility bills to establish identity at the polls on Election Day.
“There is a video on the Internet of a political operative discussing how to forge utility bills on Election Day. Current ID rules are not enough. We need to stop voter fraud before it happens,” said Bell. “It’s impossible to fix the problem after non-citizens and felons have cast ballots. What you have then is a tainted election.”
Bell's bill would also provide a photo ID at no charge, if the voter can't afford it.