Virginia is a battleground state that President Obama must win in November to stay in the White House. Of course, the GOP controlled Virginia legislature understands that as well. This week that GOP controlled legislature, newly minted in November 2011, began moving voter suppression related legislation.
Virginia’s GOP swiftly passed a redistricting plan that packed all the black people in one district to avoid the creation of a second black district. This would be easy to do as Virginia is 20% black. Now — here they come — sudden changes in election and voting laws that just happen to coincide with the re-election efforts of the first black President of the United States. Funny these little coincidences. Never mind that GOP candidate Newt Gingrich allegedly handed it bogus signatures to get on the ballot in Virginia for President… this voter ID thing is where the real action is for the Virginia GOP. Another interesting sub story here is that Virginia’s GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell is dying to be on the ticket with Mitt Romney. Changes in Virginia’s voting laws that he signs that end up suppressing Democratic voters could end up helping him if he is on the ticket.
Existing Virginia law allows voters to cast a vote using a regular ballot without identification. A new GOP bill would change that and require an ID. Translation: This is a voter ID law. For mysterious reasons Del. Johnny Joannou was OK with this — though he represents lots of black folks in Portsmouth, VA. But Delegates Algie Howell and Ken Alexander, who both represent parts of Norfolk, Virginia weren’t having it.
“There’s no way humanly possible that I can support this bill,” Howell said.
“I don’t know why we have this bill in front of us if we don’t have documented cases of voter fraud or problems at the polling place,” Alexander told the Richmond Times Dispatch. Since the Richmond Times Dispatch is the Fox News of newspapers in Virginia they decided to forgo calling the bill what it is: A new voter ID law in Virginia that will more than likely suppress the vote for President Obama. There will be a rally Tuesday morning in Richmond as lawmakers return to work.
Recently the Congressional Black Caucus spoke on the House floor as a group, led by Virgin Islands Delegate Donna Christensen, on the new voter suppression efforts. Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott, who will be at the rally on Tuesday morning, spoke: