Monday, February 18, 2013

VA Progressive Caucus Protests Voting Barriers


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                                                         Contact: Lisa Guthrie; (804) 240-1976

February 18, 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                 




Richmond – Today, members of the Virginia General Assembly Progressive Caucus spoke out against bills which erect more roadblocks to exercise the right to vote.


Voting is a fundamental American freedom. Senator Obenshain's SB1256 will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of Virginians to vote by mandating voters show a specific kind of ID at the polls, a kind of ID these politicians know many voters don't have.

SB1256 will disproportionately affect seniors, students, low-income, and minority voters.

Our elections should be free, fair, and accessible. We're all concerned about election integrity but the real threat is politicians who are trying to change the rules to rig the outcome.

Senator Donald McEachin expressed outrage stating, "Just six months ago, we spent $2 million to educate voters about changes to the voting laws. Now we want to change the laws again, and for what? To make it harder for more people to vote? These frequent rule changes don't make our elections safer. They confuse and discourage voters, who can longer have confidence that they have the right ID to be able to vote."

"Virginia has an ugly history of suppressing the vote and these bills will deny Virginians the right to vote.  Even if the ID from the registrar is free, there are hidden costs to the voter to get the documents necessary to prove their identity.  That is in essence a poll tax," stated Delegate Jennifer McClellan.

On another one of Senator Obenshain's bills, SB 1077, Delegate Bob Brink objected to yet more restrictions to voting.  "Using the SAVE database to verify the citizenship of registered voters wrongfully targets naturalized citizens whose SAVE records can be years out of date. Forcing individuals, who have properly navigated our complex immigration system and become US citizens, to prove their fundamental right to vote is outrageous."

We've never solved anything in this country with less democracy and we shouldn't start now.

Voting is the one thing that brings us all together and makes us equal as Americans.



Lisa M. Guthrie, Executive Director, Virginia Progressive Caucus, 804-240-1976, Twitter: @VaProgCaucus Facebook: Virginia-Progressive-Caucus