Saturday, February 5, 2011

Revisiting the Poll Tax - One More Time

For the last two sessions we have seen efforts to restrict an individual's right to vote. Last year, we fought over legislation that would have prohibited anyone from voting without a driver's license. I spoke out on the floor and blogged about it here:

Delegate Jennifer McClellan also gave a great speech about the problems African Americans had getting a identification due to discrimination in the Jim Crow days. You can watch her speech is in the post above as well. After our floor debate, the bill was pulled and not debated.

This year, HB 1560 was introduced. It requires a registrant to vote provisionally if you do not have a picture ID. When you vote provisionally, your vote is not counted until post-election canvass 1-3 days after an election and it is subject to challenge. If your vote is challenged and you are not there to present evidence and prove your identity, your vote might not be counted.
This could present a huge impediment to voting to large numbers of elderly voters in my district or working poor on U.S. 1 who have limited access to transportation. Being the grandson of people who were poll taxed, literacy tested and thoroughly intimidated by Virginia election officials who did not like their politics in the 30's and 40's, this is something that I am very passionate about.

This year, this legislation passed the House of Delegates 68-31. Hopefully, the Senate will do the right thing.


  1. We don't live in Jim Crow days. The person who does not have *some form* of photo identification is extremely rare. Further, as I understand it, photo identification is not required for absentee balloting.

    If I won't take a credit card from someone who cannot prove who s/he is, why would I accept a vote from that same person?

  2. Tess:

    I can introduce you to several folks over 90 years-old (and one over 100) in the 44th who voted for me last year who don't have driver's licenses.

    You want them to take public transportation to the Fairfax County Government Center every year to defend their vote on the day after the election?

    The sponsor also couldn't identify a single voter impersonation prosecution in the United States in the last 20 years (I left that out of the video).

    This is a solution in search of a problem.

    Scott S.

  3. You're equating "driver license" with "photo ID".
    The two are not the same.

    I can already show an ID by ANY government agency OR from an employer if it has a name and photograph, if I recall correctly.