Based on the chatter on gun blogs and Internet forums, it looks like a groundswell is underway in Virginia to borrow a page from Napoléon’s playbook and vote ‘to the sound of the guns.’ Thanks to a new law passed by the Virginia General Assembly and signed by Governor Bob McDonnell (R), all that it will take to vote in Virginia this year is a concealed handgun permit. This means no photo is required to vote, a far different story that the recent Pennsylvania photo-voter statute struck down by a Pennsylvania judge. A key objection to the Pennsylvania photo-voter scheme was the difficulty in obtaining photo ID by people without driver’s licenses.
Non-driver photo IDs in Pennsylvania are issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). PennDOT refuses to issue non-driver photo IDs to persons who do not have, or refuse to disclose, social security numbers (SSNs), a well known violation of Section 7 of the Federal Privacy Act. Applicants for Virginia concealed handgun permits do not have to provide photos or SSNs. And use of the concealed handgun permit as Virginia voter ID is approved by the United States Department of Justice, and is now highlighted on BarackObama.com. But not everone approves.