Election Day is 168 days away.
States are getting ready by making it harder for voters to cast a ballot that will be counted. Last week, Virginia Gov. Bob McConnell signed a voter ID bill. While Virginia’s law is not as strict as, say, Pennsylvania’s photo ID requirements, it’s still a solution in search of a problem.
The Roanoke Times editorialized:
Gov. Bob McDonnell appeared genuinely torn over two bills on his desk that require Virginians to present identification at polling places or cast provisional ballots and later prove their identity.
He also directed state elections officials to send a voter registration card to every registered voter in the commonwealth. Everyone will have that identification to bring to the polling place on Election Day.
Well, most everyone. The governor did not concede this in his announcement, but some people inevitably will be missed.
McDonnell also ordered elections officials to conduct an education campaign and keep track of how many provisional ballots are cast because of the new law.
McConnell was the latest southern governor to join the voter ID bandwagon. Stateline reports:
The Republican governors of Virginia and Mississippi are the latest to sign legislation making sure voters show proper identification before they cast their ballots, a trend that has the Obama re-election campaign ramping up its efforts to make sure voters know of the new requirements.
In Mississippi, Governor Phil Bryant late last week signed into law a state constitutional amendment requiring voters to show photo ID that Mississippi voters approved by 62 percent in the 2011 general election. The measure also allows people without proper photo identification to apply for a free voter ID at the office of the county circuit clerk. “We want everyone to participate in the election process, and we want that process to be fair and secure,” the governor said in a statement.
Virginia already required voters to have valid ID, but has never required a photo ID and that doesn’t change now. Legislation that Governor Robert F. McDonnell signed on Friday does change voting procedures in two ways. Under previous law, those who didn’t have identification could sign a special document vowing they were who they said they were.
That is no longer an option under the new legislation. Instead, when someone votes without presenting identification, they can vote with a provisional ballot but must later present an approved ID to their local registrar through email, fax, mail or hand delivery.
Read more: More Voter ID Laws Enacted in the South