Last fall, we saw a number of voting problems in Virginia. The primary problem was long lines (up to 5 hours) which prevented people from voting. I got one call about a women whose oxygen was running out and could not stay to vote. A vote delayed is a vote denied. There were numerous other voting problems, including polls not opening on time, slow check in, inadequate numbers of voting machines, inadequate numbers of poll books, electronic phone book failures, machine failures, insufficient numbers of backup paper ballots, insufficient numbers of provisional ballots, staff not properly trained, legitimate voter identification rejected, people who thought they were registered not on the poll lists, voters directed to the wrong polling sites, confusion about absentee ballots, people with disabilities not able to obtain curbside voting, electronic machines not properly counting votes, electronic machines not properly displaying candidates, road blocks to polling places, disputes over challenges (very few, so far as I know), and confusion over the role of observers within the polls.
In response to these problems that burdened our citizens’ right to vote, our Republican-dominated General Assembly, did . . . nothing. Instead, the General Assembly expended a great deal of time and effort and came up with bills that addressed the non-existent problem of voter identification fraud. That is, they were concerned that people who were not registered to vote were voting (or voting multiple times) using false identification. This happens, if at all, only rarely and has never had an impact on an election. In response to this non-existent problem, the general assembly adopted a several bills imposing new voter identification requirements, although they just adopted stricter voter identification requirements last year. Here are links to the bills: HB 1337 (requires photo ID effective 2014); SAB 1256 (also requires photo ID effective 2014). While they were at it, they also added immigration status checks, SB 1077 , and enacted new restrictions on voter registration drives, SB 1008.
Call Governor McDonald’s office and urge him to veto these bills – (804-786-2211)
VA DNC Member
I was proud to represent Virginia on the Democratic National Committee for 12 years. I am in DC now, but still active in voter protection and Democratic Party rules. More about me, click here.