Governor proposes changes controversial voter ID bill

Posted at 10:46 PM, Apr 11, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-11 23:43:31-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Governor Bob McDonnell has made a some changes to that controversial voter ID legislation passed by the General Assembly.

Some had feared the changes might keep the elderly and minorities from casting their ballots.

In fact, voter Rhonda Acholes said she has was worried the changes could affect elderly folks in her community.

For example, the measure states that a voter who shows up with no ID at the polls would have to cast a provisional ballot -- and then show up later with an ID to prove their identity.

Acholes feared some people would view the changes as a hassle and, in turn, be deterred from going to the polls.

“It’s like you’re asking for too much information and some people, when you ask for too much information... they don’t want to be bothered,” said Acholes.

However, the governor changed that part of the legislation.

McDonnell wants people who voted by provisional ballot because they did not have proper ID to have until the Friday after the election to either send in or present their id to the electoral board.

Voter Phaedra Jackson, who works for Virginia New Minority, a group that initially fought to have McDonnell veto the voter ID bills, said she supports the changes.

She thinks voters may still face some hurdles, but they are not as severe.

“They now allow community college IDs to be acceptable forms of identification,” said Jackson. “They now allow you a few more days to come back and prove you are who are -- and they allow a signature match. These are all ways to that allow someone to prove they are who they are and  increase the number of people who can vote."

However, a signature comparison requirement, which is another of the governor’s changes, is concerning some registrars.

“I don’t consider myself qualified to do that – and I don’t see the logic in removing a section of the bill that allowed for personal recognition -- and the replacing it with something that is far less accurate and far less credible,” said Chesterfield County Registrar Larry Haake.

The legislation now heads to lawmakers when they reconvene in a few weeks.