POLITICS

New Virginia voter ID laws aimed toward phantom fraud?

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Hard-core pornography is like widespread voting fraud. You know it when you see it.

Kind of like what U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart opined in a 1964 obscenity case ruling, “I know it when I see it. . .”

That wasn’t the end of the sentence. This was: “. . .and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

All of which brings us to Virginia, which will have new voter ID laws in effect come the November elections. The biggest change will be no more affidavits available to sign that attest to one’s identity and then makes one eligible to vote.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s reasoning for the new voting rules are to ensure every voter “have at least one valid ID,” because, “Every qualified citizen has the right to cast one vote. Not two votes; not zero votes.”
Thing is, the numbers say Virginia certainly doesn’t have widespread voter fraud or anything approaching it. Virginia state police records show approximately 400 alleged cases of potential voter fraud filed by the State Board of Elections four years ago in the presidential election and confirmed fewer than 40 violations. 

That’s out of nearly 4 million votes cast.

The new law also requires mailing voter registration forms to the state’s recorded eligible voters, which comes at a $2 million price tag for taxpayers. If they haven’t already, the forms supposedly will be arriving in your mailbox no later than early October.

But critics also point to the aforementioned numbers and wonder where, exactly, is this widespread voter fraud in Virginia? State Senator Donald McEachin has been vocal in his opposition, saying the new rules will unfairly target minority groups, and that despite the administration’s vow to ensure voting integrity, “it’s like trying to put lipstick on a pig.”

One longtime Fairfax County election-day, polling station volunteer shakes his head and smiles when asked whether voter fraud was or is a frequent or existing problem. He’s emphatic in his response.

“No – absolutely not,” says the recently retired U.S. government military official, who wished to remain anonymous because of the nature of his duties. “I mean, I don’t really have any big problems with the new rules, but they really weren’t necessary in any way. The old system worked just fine and everybody was happy.”

Voter fraud in Virginia? You know it when you see it.

swood@wjla.com

 

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