Voter I.D. Bills Advance in General Assembly

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

Two bills that would restrict some current voter identification forms at the polls moved in the General Assembly on Friday.

Both make forms such as paychecks, bank statements, and utility bills unacceptable.

However, Senate Bill 1256 would require all forms of I.D. to have a photo of the voter.

Voter Jeff Jones said the bill could make elections more fair.

"It ensures no voter fraud and somebody can't come in and vote with somebody else's name," said Jones.

Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) who introduced the bill said the purpose of the bill is to prevent people from voting illegally.

"I can't just walk off the street with a utility bill that I have generated from a word processor or sign a form. I have to actually be who I say I am," said Obenshain.

Voter Carlton Banks said he doesn't want fraudulent elections but he said limiting the number of voters will not help.

"Is there some part of the process that needs to be fixed? Sure. Is this a way of saying they're not being inclusive? I just have some concerns about that not being inclusive," said Banks.

Obenshain said the photo I.D.s would be available at no cost at the Registrar's Office.

"To say you need to have a photo I.D. to vote is pretty routine and pretty low barrier," said Obenshain.

According to Banks, some people may be against getting an I.D. even if it's easy to do so.

"We would like to think that everybody has access to that, and are not being hindered by that, but if we take somebody out that wants to vote and we take that opportunity away from them, I think that's wrong," said Banks.

The House of Delegates will vote on the bill next week. If they pass the bill, it would go to the governor's desk for approval. If the bill goes into law, it would take effect in July of 2014.

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