An expert witness testified Wednesday in a suit challenging Virginia’s photo ID law that there is no evidence voter fraud is a rational justification for such a requirement in Virginia or any other state. Lorraine C. Minnite, author of “The Myth of Voter Fraud” and co-author of “Keeping Down the Black Vote: Race and the Demobilization of American Voters,” said the sort of fraud that photo ID is meant to prevent is so uncommon there is a concern it would cause more legitimate ballots to be lost than fraudulent ballots cast. “If there is no voter fraud, the question is, what is this all about? … Why are the two parties fighting so intensely?” asked Minnite, a witness for the plaintiffs, including the Democratic Party of Virginia. Minnite contends parties can win by expanding their own base or by decreasing the other party’s. “It goes to the logic and the strategy of trying to win elections,” she said.
Minnite was on the stand at the end of the third day of the trial in Richmond before U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. Democrats and two other plaintiffs allege, among other things, that the 2013 voting law requiring photo identification was enacted by the Republican-controlled Virginia legislature in response to President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election.
Proponents of the ID requirement said the law was needed to curb voter fraud by impersonation. The defendants in the suit, state election officials, deny enacting any policy to discriminate against minorities or that the legislation has the effect of discriminating against minorities.