January 26, 2012

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Virginia Democrats Stand up to Voter Suppression Legislation


Virginia Democrats are speaking out today against Republican efforts to make it more difficult for some Virginians to vote through several legislative proposals submitted in the name of fighting "voter fraud."   

Last week, a House of Delegates subcommittee voted to push House Bill 9, one of several bills aimed at making it more difficult for some Virginians to vote, forward. The legislation would change Virginia law to require voters who cannot produce certain forms of identification to cast a provisional ballot instead of a regular ballot (which present law allows them to cast).  

Republican Delegate Mark Cole says he sponsored the legislation in an effort to fight "voter fraud," but could not produce any evidence of such fraud when asked.  

"Voting is a right of our democracy," said Senator Donald McEachin (D-Henrico), Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. "All eligible citizens should have the opportunity to express their opinions in the voting booth. This is a solution in search of a problem that risks depriving registered voters of their right to vote."

"There is no issue more important than protecting the right to vote for all Virginians," said Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton).  "I am concerned that Republican voter suppression bills will not only have effects on our elderly, minorities, and people with disabilities, but now will ultimately make it harder for veterans to vote.  It's time to put the citizens in this Commonwealth above politics and focus on making voting more accessible for all Virginians."

"In his State of the Commonwealth address, the Governor warned the Republican majority about overreach," noted House Democratic Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville). "Yet, they are doing precisely that with this measure. Unnecessarily restrictive measures like House Bill 9 do nothing but limit citizen participation in our democracy." 

"Those that testified in favor of House Bill 9 could not produce a single instance of voter fraud in the Commonwealth," remarked Del. Mark Sickles (D-Franconia), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.  "As a member of the Privileges and Elections subcommittee that considered HB9, I will continue to strongly oppose any legislation that places further burdens on one's constitutional right to vote." 

"Make no mistake about it. Republicans want to make it harder for Virginians to vote," said DPVA Chairman Brian Moran. "We should remain vigilant about the potential for voter fraud, but that does not mean we should allow Republicans to create obstacles for qualified Virginians to exercise their constitutional right to choose their leaders. I urge Bob McDonnell and the rest of the Virginia Republican Party to drop this campaign against voting rights and get to work on the problems Virginians elected them to solve." 

Additional bills restricting voting rights: 

HB63: Provisional ballots; electoral board meeting opened only to authorized party to determine validity.

HB569: Elections; identification to register to vote and to vote.

HB895: Voter registration; requires proof of U.S. citizenship, residence, and photo ID to register.

HB1084: Requires a photo ID to cast a ballot.

SB1: Voter identification requirements; provisional ballots.  Removes a Commonwealth of Virginia voter registration card from the list of forms of identification that a voter can present to demonstrate that he is a qualified voter. 

SB55: Voter identification requirements; revises list of items a voter may show to prove identification.

Senate Democrats

Senator George L. Barker
Senator Charles J. Colgan
Senator Creight R. Deeds
Senator Adam P. Ebbin
Senator John S. Edwards
Senator Barbara A. Favola
Senator Mark R. Herring
Senator Janet D. Howell
Senator Mamie E. Locke
Senator Louise L. Lucas
Senator David W. Marsden
Senator Henry L. Marsh III
Senator Donald A. McEachin
Senator John C. Miller
Senator Yvonne B. Miller
Senator Ralph S. Northam
Senator Petersen J. Chapman
Senator Phillip P. Puckett
Senator Linda T. Puller
Senator Richard L. Saslaw

House Democrats

Delegate Kenny Alexander 
Delegate Mamye BaCote 
Delegate Robert Brink
Delegate David Bulova
Delegate Betsy Carr
Delegate Rosalyn Dance
Delegate David Englin 
Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn
Delegate Charniele Herring
Delegate Patrick Hope
Delegate Algie Howell 
Delegate Matthew James
Delegate Mark Keam
Delegate Kaye Kory 
Delegate Lynwood Lewis
Delegate Alfonso Lopez
Delegate Jennifer McClellan
Delegate Delores McQuinn
Delegate Joe Morrissey
Delegate Ken Plum 
Delegate Jim Scott
Delegate Mark Sickles
Delegate Lionell Spruill, Sr.
Delegate Scott Surovell
Delegate Luke Torian 
Delegate David Toscano
Delegate Roslyn Tyler
Delegate Jeion Ward
Delegate Onzlee Ware
Delegate Vivian Watts


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