Virginia to End Requirement of Photo ID for Voting

Commentary & Community

Virginia to End Requirement of Photo ID for Voting

In 2012, Virginia enacted a law requiring a photo identification for voting. This week, legislators passed a bill that ends this requirement.


Under HB 19, voters could show documents such as bank statements or pay-stubs in order to prove their identity and vote. They can also sign an affidavit attesting to their identity if they do not have these documents. They would no longer be required to produce a photo ID at their polling place.


This change, led by Democrats, undoes legislation that the previous governor, Bob McDonnell, signed into law eight years ago. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has said he supports ending the photo ID requirement.


Supporters of changing the law contend that strict voter ID laws make it more difficult to vote. They say that they disproportionately impact minorities and the poor, so are a way to reduce Democratic turnout. Opponents of ending the photo ID requirement argue that this is a good way to prevent voter fraud. They point out that many areas in life require photo ID, so it is not a hardship to require it for voting.


There have been pushes in many states to require photo IDs for voting. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that such laws were not unconstitutional.

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