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GOP lawmaker pushes for photo ID law in Virginia

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Local,Virginia,Steve Contorno,Republican Party,Voter ID Laws

A Virginia Republican lawmaker and candidate for state attorney general wants to require Virginia voters to show a photo ID at the polls before they are allowed to cast a ballot.

Del. Rob Bell, R-Charlottesville, introduced a bill Monday that toughens Virginia's voting laws. Bell's bill would require everyone to show a government-issued photo ID to vote and proof of citizenship to acquire one. Virginians who can't afford an ID would be given one by the state.

"Everyone who's eligible should vote on Election Day, but it's important that we only count the ballots of citizens who have the right to vote," Bell said.

Last year, Virginia Republicans successfully pushed through a bill that requires everyone to bring an ID to their polling place. Those who don't have one will be sent home to get it. Previously, voters could cast a provisional ballot and sign an affidavit swearing they are who they say they are.

Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the bill, but also issued every state resident a voter ID card and expanded the forms of acceptable identification. That included utility bills, which Bell says is inappropriate.

A hidden camera caught Patrick Moran, the son of Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., telling an undercover conservative operative that he could forge a utility bill to cast fraudulent votes in the names of other people.

Republicans state legislators across the country have been advocating photo ID laws to combat voter fraud. Democrats have resisted such laws, charging that it was really an attempt to prevent the poor, elderly, students and minorities who might vote Democratic from voting.

McDonnell has so far balked at calls by Virginia Republicans for a photo ID law.

scontorno@washingtonexaminer.com

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