Photo ID bill advances in General Assembly

Posted at 7:38 PM, Feb 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-15 00:19:49-05

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) -- A bill is advancing slowly through the General  Assembly that would require all voters to show a photo identification card when they vote at the polls.

Senate Bill 1256 is sponsored by Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, R - Harrisonburg. The Bill passed the State Senate on a party line vote. With Lt. Governor Bill Bolling casting the tie breaking vote.

It was approved by a House subcommittee Wednesday and it expected to be passed by the full House Appropriations Committee Friday.

Republicans overwhelmingly control the VA House of Delegates.

"Under my bill it is simple. All you need is a photo ID. Period," Obenshain told CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George.

Presently VA accepts several forms of identification in order for someone to vote including  utility bills and voter registration cards. This bill would strip those as options.

If a voter does not have a photo ID, the bill states they could get one for free at the local registrar's office.

"We've got a mechanism in this bill that if you don't have a photo ID you just go down to the registrar office and they will print one for you," Obenshain said.

The cost is estimated to be around $200,000 dollars for this service.

However some local registrars say that is not nearly enough.

"There are 133 registrar offices in the Commonwealth when you do the math that is not a lot per office," Larry Haake, Chesterfield County Registrar, said.

Haake told CBS 6 that the measure "is not needed" and that the only people talking about voter ID laws are legislators.

Democrats are livid at the proposal.

"This is disenfranchisement," St. Delegate Jennifer McClellan, D - Richmond, said.

"I do look at it as disenfranchisement - of one class of voters -  fraudulent voters," Obenshain said.