RICHMOND, VA – A ruling today from the U.S. Supreme Court upholding an Indiana law requiring voters to show a government-approved photo ID at the polls will not have any effect on Virginia law, which does not require an ID to vote.
The ACLU of Indiana challenged the Indiana law, passed in 2005, arguing that it placed an undue burden on the constitutional right to vote and that it would have a disparate impact on minorities, the poor, and the elderly.
In Virginia, voters without ID must sign a form at the polls affirming identity, but their votes are counted. Indiana voters without ID are allowed to cast provisional ballots, but the ballots are not counted until the voter produces proof of identity, which they have ten days to do.
“In Virginia you do not have to show identification to vote,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis. “That law is still in effect, and there is no reason to change it.”
“Some will say that IDs are needed to combat voter fraud,” added Willis, “but numerous studies show that individual voter fraud is non-existent in the United States. Voter fraud is perpetrated by those who count votes, not those who cast them. The only thing an ID accomplishes is to make it more difficult for minorities, the poor, and the elderly to participate in the democratic process.
Delegate Robert Marshall, who represents Prince William County, introduced a bill in the 2008 Virginia General Assembly that would have required a government-issued ID to vote.
But Marshall’s bill, HB 65, was more onerous than Indiana’s, as there was no provision for a free ID. Most of the justices who supported the Indiana law noted that it requires the state to produce an ID free of charge for those who cannot otherwise afford one. HB 65 failed in the Privileges and Elections Committee in the House of Delegates.
Today’s Supreme Court decision in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board came on a fractured 6-3 vote involving three separate concurring opinions, one from Justices John G. Roberts, Jr. and Anthony M. Kennedy, another from John Paul Stevens, and a third from Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.
Contact: Kent Willis, (804) 644-8022