A Senate subcommittee has blessed bills that would make it easier for presidential candidates to qualify for elections, but harder for some voters to cast ballots by eliminating some currently accepted forms of identification. Those measures, both sponsored by Republican Sen. Dick Black of Loudoun County, received favorable recommendations from a subset of the Committee on Privileges and Elections Wednesday morning. Black’s SB690 would cut in half the number of Virginia voter signatures that candidates must submit to qualify for primary or general election ballots – the current standard is 10,000 signatures, with 400 from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts. The proposal would reduce the threshold to 5,000 signatures, including 200 from each congressional district.
His voter ID bill, SB719, would reduce the types of identification accepted at the polls. It would no longer allow a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck that shows the name and address of the voter. Those forms were added to the list of approved IDs last year when Virginia revised its voter identification law.
Such documents are valid identification for certain first-time voters in federal elections who are required to show ID under the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Several advocacy groups oppose Black’s voter ID bill on the grounds that it would put Virginia at odds with federal law, require different standards for different elections, and disenfranchise voters relying on those forms of identification.
A similar bill has been filed in the House of Delegates.