When asked whether he would put his name next to the controversial voter ID legislation passed by the General Assembly that would require voters without identification to cast provisional ballots, Gov. McDonnell made no signs of committing one way or the other on Sunday. Legislators reasonably rejected the governor’s proposed amendment earlier in April that would have required members of the electoral board to compare the signature in a voter’s registration file with the signature on a provisional ballot to confirm the identity of the voter. This scheme would have undoubtedly led to a host of other problems in the voter confirmation process. Some have suggested that the entire point of the McDonnell amendment was to eliminate the bill.
As critics of the voter ID bill have contended, the legislation runs the risk of making it more difficult for traditionally Democratic blocs of voters to vote, groups such as minorities, the elderly, and students. Indeed, the fact that voter ID bills have been passed in other “red” states this year makes it appear like the legislation is part of a concerted effort by the Republican Party to disqualify a sizable chunk of Democratic Party voters from the voting process before elections take place this year.