Our elected leaders in Richmond have some serious work to do over the next two months. Virginia is running a $1 billion budget deficit. Education and public safety funding is being diverted to fund transportation. And the state stands to lose federal funding and flexibility if it does not move forward with a Health Benefits Exchange.
So, why is the General Assembly focusing time and energy to fix a problem that does not exist? There are a slew of bills moving through committees right now that threaten your voting rights and waste your tax dollars all in the name of fighting “voter fraud”—which is a non-existent threat.
These bills include photo ID laws like SB1 as well as laws restricting the help that seniors and persons with disabilities can receive to cast their vote like SB 63.
Photo ID laws like Senate Bill 1 are designed to keep people of color, students, and seniors from voting. Approximately 23 million United State’s citizens of voting age—11 percent of Americans—lack proper photo ID. Based on those numbers 500,000 Virginians could potentially be turned away from the polls on Election Day. Those without photo IDs are disproportionately low-income, disabled, minority, young, and older voters.
The voter ID program is likely to cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year to implement. Virginia will have to offer free IDs to new voters who currently have an acceptable form of ID.
With the many problems that face Virginia, our legislators should not be focused on a “solution” in search of a problem.