Voter Suppression Unites Senate Republicans

Senate Bill 1 could result in more uncounted valid ballots 
than fraudulent ones 

Today Senate Republicans continued their overreaching agenda, and stood united to take Virginia backwards by making it harder for poor, young, elderly, and disabled Virginians to vote. Senate Democrats unanimously and vocally took a stand against Senate Bill 1.

Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke City) said, “The right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights in our democracy. It is the right that underpins our democracy. We have a proud history here in Virginia of expanding access to the polls.”

“But we also have a history we're not proud of,” Senator Edwards continued. “We have a long history of Jim Crow laws: we had a poll tax—it was thrown out as unconstitutional. We had a literacy test—it was thrown out as discriminatory. I don't want to see Virginia go back to those days.”

“There is no evidence of voter fraud. During the Bush administration, with over 213 million registered voters in the country, there were only 102 prosecuted cases of voter fraud. The likelihood of in-person voter fraud is about the same as being struck by lightning.  This is a solution in search of a problem. Let's not turn the clock back in Virginia,” Senator Edwards said.

Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) said, “These voter ID bills are designed to systematically undercount ballots in certain constituencies. They are not designed to prevent voter fraud. It will lead to undercounting the young, the elderly, the poor, and the disabled. You can't have democracy if some groups are systematically under-represented. We should be encouraging voter turnout, not discouraging people from voting.”

Senator Henry Marsh (D-Richmond) pointed out that the fiscal impact of voter-identification laws frequently goes unnoticed. “The cost of this legislation will be high — and it is clear there is no real voter fraud being committed,” said Senator Marsh. “There will be additional costs for local voter registrars, and defending litigation will also be expensive.  So not only will this bill make it harder for many, many groups to vote, it will also spend money we could be using elsewhere.”

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