Governor Comments on DOJ's Preclearance of VA Voter Law
The U.S. Department of Justice has cleared the way for Virginia's new voter ID law to be used in the fall elections.
The Washington Post reports (http://bit.ly/Qk80n1 ) that federal officials on Monday found the law did not violate the Voting Rights Act. The state law closes a loophole that allowed Virginia residents without identification to vote but expanded the type of accepted ID to include a valid student ID, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck that shows the name and address of the voter.
The Justice Department said in a letter that it does not "interpose any objection to the specified changes," but added that any further changes affecting voting would be subject to review under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Virginia must get federal preclearance for voting law changes because of a past history of discrimination.
Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement he was pleased with the department's decision to sign off on what he called "commonsense legislation."
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Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on Preclearance of Virginia's Voter ID Law by the U.S. Department of Justice
Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement after the Department of Justice granted preclearance to Virginia's voter ID law. The new law expands the forms of acceptable identification for voting, and changes the procedure when someone votes without presenting identification, requiring them to vote provisionally and later present an approved ID to their local registrar through email, fax, mail, or hand delivery. Governor McDonnell also issued an executive order, which directed the State Board of Elections to take a number of steps to implement this legislation. Among other things, the executive order directed the State Board of Elections to send every Virginia voter a voter card, a valid form of ID under state law, before Election Day, so that every registered Virginia voter has a valid ID to present at the polls.
"I am pleased that the Department of Justice has granted preclearance to this commonsense legislation. When I signed the legislation, I issued an Executive Order requiring the issuance of a voter card to every active registered Virginia voter. This significant step ensures that every Virginia voter is guaranteed to have at least one of the many different valid forms of ID required to be presented at the polls.
Protecting against voter fraud and making sure our elections are secure are critical for confidence in our democracy. The legislation I signed into law is a practical and reasonable step to make our elections more secure while also ensuring access to the ballot box for all qualified voters.
It is welcome news that DOJ has recognized the compliance of this legislation with the Voting Rights Act."