A federal judge has upheld Virginia’s voter ID law challenged by the Democratic Party of Virginia and two voters alleging the Republican-controlled state legislature enacted it to curb the number of young and minority voters. “Mindful that the court’s mission is to judge not the wisdom of the Virginia voter ID law, but rather its constitutionality, this court cannot say that plaintiffs have met their burden of proof in showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the Virginia voter ID law … contravenes the Voting Rights Act, the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, the Fifteenth Amendment, or the Twenty-Sixth Amendment,” U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson wrote Thursday. Hudson’s ruling concluded: “While the merits of this voter identification law, and indeed all aspects of Virginia’s voting regime, can be reasonably debated, it remains true that Virginia has created a scheme of laws to accommodate all people in their right to vote. From in-person voting, to an absentee option, to provisional ballots with the ability to cure, and the provision of free voter IDs, Virginia has provided all of its citizens with an equal opportunity to participate in the electoral process.”
The suit was filed last June against state elections officials, alleging that the GOP-controlled legislature enacted the requirements following the 2012 re-election of President Barack Obama with the intent of reducing the number of voters who traditionally cast ballots for Democratic candidates. They asked for a permanent injunction barring the state from enforcing the law.
The law’s proponents said the goal was to prevent election fraud and said the law was race-neutral and that no one lost the right to vote.
The law requires a voter to have one of the following: a Virginia driver’s license; a U.S. passport or any other photo ID issued by the U.S., Virginia or one of its political subdivisions; a student ID issued by any institution of higher learning in Virginia; an employee identification card; or another form of photo ID.