Does Virginia’s Voter ID law discriminate against minority voters?

Posted at 1:38 PM, Sep 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-22 13:38:16-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Four months ago a federal judge upheld the Republican-led Voter ID Law that was signed by former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell in 2013.

The law requires voters to show a valid photo identification card before they can vote.

Thursday, at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, a panel of judges listened to oral arguments challenging that law.

The Democratic Party of Virginia would like to see that the law overturned before the November 8 elections.

Democrats believe the law can intimidate young and minority voters and could deter them from voting on Election Day.

Republicans counter that the law was not meant to deter voters, but to prevent election fraud by proving the person voting is eligible to do so.

There could be a precedent that could hint at what the panel of judges might decide.  The same court struck down a similar voter ID law in North Carolina two months ago.

The ruling was that the law forced voters to show a photo-ID and intentionally discriminated against minority voters, especially those who do not have a driver’s license or a government-issued ID card.

Mark Hearne, independent counsel for the state attorney general, argued there was nothing constitutionally invalid to having every registered voter in Virginia use a photo ID to vote.

However, attorney Bruce Spiva who represented those opposed to the law, said there was factual evidence that Virginia has a history of racial discrimination and the photo-ID law may have been issued with discriminatory intent.

The next step is for the panel to issue an opinion.

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