Judge rules challenge to Va. Voter ID law can proceed

Photo by Matt Leonard
Photo by Matt Leonard

A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit challenging Virginia’s controversial voter identification law to continue.

The Democratic Party of Virginia filed the suit against the State Board of Elections and the Department of Elections seeking to strike down the law, which requires voters to show photo identification at the polls. On Dec. 18, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson ruled the part of the lawsuit challenging the voter ID laws could proceed, while striking down other related complaints.

The lawsuit seeks to undo the measure requiring that voters show a photo ID at the polls which was signed by Virginia’s previous governor, Robert McDonnell (R), in 2013.

Gov. McDonnell told the media after signing the 2013 law he hoped to “preserve this goal of preventing illegal voting while promoting voter participation, and making sure we do not stand in the way of legitimate voting.”

While prominent Republicans have defended the law, saying it safeguards against voter fraud, the Democratic Party claims the law can make it more difficult for some Americans to vote, particularly African-Americans, Latinos, young and poor voters.

Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in June she believed since Republican lawmakers “couldn’t change the minds” of those voting in the state, they “decided to change the makeup of the electorate instead by making it more difficult for Virginians to exercise their right to vote.”

According to the National Council of State Legislatures, a Bipartisan Non-Governmental Organization that conducts research, Virginia is one of nine states which has strict photo ID laws, meaning voters are required to take additional measures to ensure ID after showing their photo ID.

Altogether, 17 states in the union do not require photo IDs at the polls while 33 states have some variation of ID laws.

Print News Editor, Fadel Allassan

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 9.11.49 PMFadel is a sophomore print journalism major. He is fluent in English, French and Sarcasm, and he probably doesn’t like you. Fadel enjoys writing about politics and making people drive him to Cook-Out. // Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn



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