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Voter ID Bill Draws Protests At Fredericksburg Library

Virginia Organizing and University of Mary Washington students met at the Caroline Street library today to protest the Voter ID bills proposed in the General Assembly and called on Sen. Bryce Reeves to oppose them.

Despite a group of protesters today asking him to oppose Voter ID legislation, Sen. Bryce Reeves said he is more concerned about protecting the system from voter fraud and he supports the legislation.

Reeves already voted for Senate Bill 1 which eliminates the provision that allows a voter to sign a sworn statement that he or she is the named registered voter instead of having to present identification. Instead, the voter would have to cast a provisional ballot and the protesters said that these types of ballots are less likely to be counted in the process.

"These bills will disproportionately affect some of our most vulnerable citizens: seniors, minorities, young adults and low-income Virginians," said Evan McLaughlin, a member of the Fredericksburg Chapter of Virginia Organizing. Protesters held signs stating, "Voting is a Fundamental Freedom" and "Voting is at the Heart of What it means to be an American."

Three Fredericksburg Police cruisers with officers were parked a block away watching the activity. At one point, a librarian came out and asked the protesters to make sure they were not blocking patrons from entering and exiting the library.

Reeves said in a prepared statement that voting is a fundamental right that must be protected from fraud and abuse.

“SB 1 will strengthen the integrity of the ballot process," he said. "It is unfortunate that partisan organizations like Virginia Organizing, and their Chairperson, Sandra Cook, assert that ensuring the integrity of the ballot box is not a 'real' issue. Their call for me to 'stop wasting time' on this important issue to the voters of my district is disheartening. I will fight for the right of every Virginian to have their voice heard through the ballot box and continuing to work in a bi-partisan manner, as I already have on other issues affecting the people of 17th District.”

Members of the Spotsylvania Republican Committee crashed the protest with one of their own, led by member Steve Thomas, who tweeted earlier this morning for people to join him at the library. One of the committee members talked over McLaughlin as he tried to speak to about 20 people who gathered in a circle around him. The SRC members also held signs stating, "No to Voter Fraud," "We Love Bryce" and "One Voter=One Vote Only."

Mac Smith February 06, 2012 at 05:50 PM
The fact of the matter is that there is no proof of voter fraud in Virginia. Poor voters vote Democratic more often because that party pushes for services for low income families and the poor. This bill will shave a few hundred votes off of each election and as we saw this past November - 100 votes is a lot. If my name is on the rolls and I can give you my address, show you a water bill, cable bill, etc, it should be enough to cat a ballot.
MichaEl Hirsch February 06, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Actually , this is the openning sentence on every Virginia Voter Registration Application form - Identification Requirement For Registration, "If you are registering for the first time by mail, federal law (the Help America Vote Act) requires you to provide identification. To avoid delays, please enclose a copy of one of the following documents that shows your name and address with your application: (1) current and valid photo ID,..." So who doesn't have one of those? And the people that I know who help the poor are always willing to help get a legal, "valid photo ID!" Of course if the federal governement asks for it, why shouldn't we Virginians help the cause of "valid photo ID!" Debby Girvan offered an excellent solution to consider.
Mac Smith February 06, 2012 at 11:52 PM
I'm grateful that everyone is volunteering to help the elderly and poor vote, but that does not move beyond the original point. The GOP is making it harder for certain demographics to vote because it is to their advantage - just like making it easier for the poor and poor minorities to vote is a Democratic Party advantage. Let's not pretent that this is about voter fraud.
MichaEl Hirsch February 07, 2012 at 12:21 AM
I have read the ID bills and see it a little differently, the original point is clear, it is the same standard for everyone. No advantage or disadvantage. Just honest "valid photo ID." In case you missed it , here it is again - Voter Registration Fraud in Virginia - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wefETlCp644 A non partisan news report! Watch it yet? Debby Girvan has made a great point and it makes one wonder, why not? Let's make it better for every demographic and level for both parties, sounds fair to me. As a first generation American, the son of an immigrant, I certainly understand the challenges that every American overcomes in order to participate in the democratic process of voting in this great Republic. WhenI got the notification from the Secretary of the Commonwealth that the Governor restored my right to vote I was at the Rgistrars office then very next morning with my "valid photo ID" in hand, and grateful to be able to register and vote. (SMILE)
rick barasso February 07, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Mac, it's good to see someone else that is focused on the true purpose of these type of "regulations" Mike writes: Hey, wait a minute, I just read the signs and counted more people in favor than against! Now how about that? I believe the same was true in Va. 1964 with those that opposed the Civil Rights Act. And in 1860 when Va. voted to join the Confederacy to maintain the practice of treating human beings as chattel. I believe around 70% of Virginians were in favor of invading Iraq. Come to think of it, when it comes to politics, I think one should be proud to be in the minority in Virginia!
MichaEl Hirsch February 07, 2012 at 02:32 AM
In case you missed it , here it is again - Voter Registration Fraud in Virginia - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wefETlCp644 A non partisan news report! Watch it yet? I am already on public record as opposing anything that disenfranchises any citizens from voting, you may wish to return to your fond memories and to go back to 1964 or 1860, as for me, I say let's move forward. Watch the VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD IN VIRGINIA news report and you'll see why the "Valid phot ID" bills make sense. Hey did you see the response to the poll?
MichaEl Hirsch February 07, 2012 at 02:34 AM
The reason for my pointing out what the signs say is that they actually support the "Valid photo ID' bills. Freedom of speech, God bless America!
rick barasso February 07, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Mike, I can appreciate that "you are opposed to disenfranchizing any citizens from voting." However, look around the country and it is evident that there is a conserted effort by many Republicans in power who do not feel the same. I'm suprised to see that you consider the denying of civil rights to some Americans as "fond memories" “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Sir Winston Churchill Sincerely, Rick
rick barasso February 07, 2012 at 03:01 AM
I did see the video from "2008" about the THREE people who allegedly signed up EIGHTY people NONE OF WHOM WERE FROM FREDERICKSBURG. Is this really how you want your tax dollars spent? It seems to me there are much larger issues affecting many more people and the outcome of many more elections that our tax dollars could be better spent on investigating. I'm thinking there will be little GOP support for that misconduct however.
Mac Smith February 07, 2012 at 03:12 AM
I've seen that report. A few poor hires tried to make some extra cash by adding nonexistent persons to their submissions. Those submissions were caught at the source and thrown out. The crime has identified and they were charged. This type of thing can often occur during voter drives. The attempt to put as many collectors in the field as possible allows for the hiring of less than trustworthy staff. ACORN got raked over the coals for these types of things. But this is not enough to claim there is massive voter fraud going on that requires rule changes. This law is targeted at ballot box stuffing and multiple ballot casting. There is no evidence that that occurs in Virginia. This measure has been introduced in a number of GOP controlled states as a means of reducing the voting rolls of the Democratic Party. That is what the GOP is doing here. It's politics; let's not act like it is not. That makes supporters of the measure appear naive.
MichaEl Hirsch February 07, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Thanks for watching the video! It is sad that those htree alleged of such behavior would make it necessary, but it makes one wonder...how many didn't get caught? Either way on an interesting side note, during the 2010 Ward elections in the City of Fredericksburg the Virginia State Board of Elections records show that just over 1,100 people voted. It certainly doesn't take "tax dollars" to identify them. It's free to bring your "valid photo ID." And there's the beauty, everyone can do it!
Debby Girvan February 07, 2012 at 03:42 AM
The sweeping generalizations that Democrats are all "poor and oppressed" by the "rich and corrupt" Republicans would be insulting if they weren't so laughable. Voter registration cards are already paid for & mailed with tax dollars - there is no additional fee to get one. Add a digital photo for no additional cost & every eligible voter has an ID to vote. How does that keep the poor (or anyone) from voting? This class warfare theme is getting really old.
rick barasso February 07, 2012 at 10:50 AM
Debby, On 2/3 you wrote: Everyone needs an official ID no matter income or age for travel, purchasing alcohol or tobacco, writing a check, etc. They cost only $10 at the DMV. Voter fraud is real (see links below). Who has said they can't afford a $10 ID? Now you write: Voter registration cards are already paid for & mailed with tax dollars - there is no additional fee to get one As long as yhere is no cost or added effort to be able to vote, no problem. Thank you for coming around. The GOP is always declaring "class warfare" whenever anyone points out inequaties. If there is "class warfare", we the middle class are poor warriors and are losing! Sincerely, Rick
Debby Girvan February 07, 2012 at 12:17 PM
My position has not changed - I support photo ID's at the polls. YOUR issue was the $10 bucks it costs to get one at the DMV. I simply offered an alternative solution to YOUR problem. You're the one who played the class warfare card by accusing the GOP of a keeping the poor from voting - without logic or proof I might add. Some poor people are Republicans, you know and vice versa.
MichaEl Hirsch February 07, 2012 at 01:18 PM
If it is to be accepted that a $10 cost represents an impassable obstruction to the poor (in my 30 years of serving the poor I have found that poverty is non partisan) then we should seek for a solution. Debby has given a very reasonable starting point from which a solution could be worked towards. It is possible to reduce the cost at DMV when seeking a "valid photo ID" for the purpose of voter registration. "Motor voter" registration is a great initiative that could be modified to assist the poor. Now let us collaborate in our commentray to seek a solution for our poor so that they are not disenfranchised.
Mac Smith February 07, 2012 at 02:48 PM
My concern is this: according to a study done by the Brennan Center for Justice twenty-five percent of African-American voting-age citizens have no current government-issued photo ID, compared to eight percent of white voting-age citizens. African-Americans are not a GOP constituency - thus giving the bill the appearance of partisanship. As for the idea of a photo ID solving all our problems, the same study indicated that for many of those who possess current, valid government-issued photo ID, the documentation does not reflect their current information. The study shows that ten percent of voting-age citizens who have current photo ID do not have photo ID with both their current address and their current legal name. The rate is higher among younger citizens: as many as 18 percent of citizens aged 18-24; again young adults skew away from the GOP. Our goal should be to make it easier for people to vote: national holiday on election day, same day registration, give people a week to vote, allow for mail-in ballots. Hell I like what Australia does. You actually get fined for NOT voting in a national election. Introduce that bill and I'll help lobby for it. Also, stay away from the class warfare stuff. No one wins when we head down that road.
MichaEl Hirsch February 07, 2012 at 02:54 PM
I agree, let's get those non ID voting age citizens an ID regardless of all distinctions. Let's mentor and help them keep current when they do have one. Think about it, if they move don';t they reigter a change of address with the post office, or with their cable company, why not their "valid phot ID?" Yes, avoid class and by making it fair for all.
Debby Girvan February 07, 2012 at 06:55 PM
I agree with making the voting process easier. USPO mail is so outdated as is the registration process. When I was a candidate, the voter registration list was a mess - multiple registrations, deceased, people who had moved, etc. Makes you wonder how they can even track voter fraud. Personally, I would like to see online voting (if it could be hacker proof - maybe a pipe dream considering recent news). I also think it's not so far fetched to foresee "thumb scanning" as an ID technology in the future. No cards necessary.
rick barasso February 07, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Debby, "When I was a candidate" I'm assuming GOP? That might explain a lot. I can assure you, The class warfare thing is nothing, if not a GOP talking point along with job creator and lame steam media.
Debby Girvan February 07, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Wrong again. (you're really good at labeling people, aren't you?) I am an Independent. I was a candidate in the city - elected positions in the city are non-partisan.
rick barasso February 07, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Let's not call it labeling people. Let's call it reading people. And yes, I am pretty good at it. Thank you
Debby Girvan February 07, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Yeah, whatever you say.
Dan Telvock (Editor) February 07, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Let's talk School Budgets instead now! http://fredericksburg.patch.com/articles/fredericksburg-schools-budget-includes-teacher-raises
rick barasso February 07, 2012 at 09:38 PM
I sense you are getting a little testie with me... If your going to be a politician, you can't get testie. Unless your name is Newt! My intent was not to upset anyone. I was only offering my opinions, based on the facts as I see them. Would you prefer to talk about something less controversal? Perhaps global warming or abortion would be a lighter topic. I kid! Sincerely, Rick
Debby Girvan February 07, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Not testy at all. It wouldn't be a debate if we had the same opinions :)
rick barasso February 07, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Wasn't sure on the spelling of testy, One of those words you say a lot but seldom write. Maybe you can help me... There are 8 definitions for the word CAN..... Yet for some reason we need the words effect and affect. Who can I blame for that? I'll blame the Democrats, if it'll help our relationship:)
MichaEl Hirsch February 07, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Testy, debate? I though it was open commentray from critical thinkers...LOL I like it to be "sharpening!" The mind, not the knives...
rick barasso February 07, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Sometimes you just have to let it go and have some fun! Apparently there are only about five of us that seem to care about this issue anyway. Let's recap: We're all good on voter ID's as long as there is no charge for the ID. Is that about right?
Debby Girvan February 07, 2012 at 11:02 PM
ID's can be issued with no point of service fee but nothing is "free" - someone must pay for them. That's the dilemma with some of our social entitlements.
rick barasso February 07, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Which bothers you most, the voter fraud issue or the cost to the tax payer to alleviate the problem? You are right, nothing is free. So, (in the words of Dirty Harry) are you feelin lucky?

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