Voting procedures; voter identification requirements, provisional ballots. (HB9)

Introduced By

Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg) with support from co-patron Del. Charles Poindexter (R-Glade Hill)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Elections; voting procedures; voter identification requirements; provisional ballots.  Provides that a voter who is unable to present one of the enumerated forms of identification may sign a sworn statement that he is the named registered voter he claims to be and then be allowed to vote a provisional ballot. Present law allows such a voter to vote an official rather than provisional ballot after signing such statement. Amends § 24.2-643, § 24.2-701, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Passed

History

  • 12/01/2011 Committee
  • 12/01/2011 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/12 12100452D
  • 12/01/2011 Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
  • 01/12/2012 Assigned P & E sub: Elections Subcommittee
  • 01/17/2012 Subcommittee recommends reporting (4-Y 2-N)
  • 01/24/2012 Impact statement from DPB (HB9)
  • 01/26/2012 Impact statement from DPB (HB9)
  • 01/27/2012 Reported from Privileges and Elections with substitute (16-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
  • 01/27/2012 Committee substitute printed 12104815D-H1
  • 01/30/2012 Impact statement from DPB (HB9H1)
  • 01/30/2012 Read first time
  • 01/31/2012 Read second time
  • 01/31/2012 Committee substitute agreed to 12104815D-H1
  • 01/31/2012 Pending question ordered (70-Y 21-N)
  • 01/31/2012 VOTE: PENDING QUESTION (70-Y 21-N) (see vote tally)
  • 01/31/2012 Engrossed by House - committee substitute (66-Y 28-N) HB9H1
  • 01/31/2012 VOTE: ENGROSSMENT (66-Y 28-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/01/2012 Read third time and passed House (69-Y 30-N)
  • 02/01/2012 VOTE: PASSAGE (69-Y 30-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/02/2012 Constitutional reading dispensed
  • 02/02/2012 Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
  • 02/21/2012 Reported from Privileges and Elections with substitute (8-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/21/2012 Committee substitute printed 12105584D-S1
  • 02/22/2012 Impact statement from DPB (HB9S1)
  • 02/23/2012 Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/24/2012 Read third time
  • 02/24/2012 Reading of substitute waived
  • 02/24/2012 Committee substitute agreed to 12105584D-S1 (19-Y 19-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/24/2012 Chair votes Yes
  • 02/24/2012 Passed by for the day
  • 02/27/2012 Read third time
  • 02/27/2012 Defeated by Senate (19-Y 21-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/27/2012 Reconsideration of defeated action agreed to by Senate (38-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/27/2012 Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB9S1
  • 02/27/2012 Passed Senate with substitute (20-Y 20-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/27/2012 Chair votes Yes
  • 02/28/2012 Impact statement from DPB (HB9)
  • 02/28/2012 Impact statement from DPB (HB9S1)
  • 02/28/2012 Placed on Calendar
  • 02/29/2012 Impact statement from DPB (HB9)
  • 02/29/2012 Senate substitute rejected by House 12105584D-S1 (0-Y 97-N)
  • 02/29/2012 VOTE: REJECTED (0-Y 97-N) (see vote tally)
  • 03/02/2012 Senate insisted on substitute (35-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)
  • 03/02/2012 Senate requested conference committee
  • 03/05/2012 House acceded to request
  • 03/06/2012 Impact statement from DPB (HB9S1)
  • 03/06/2012 Conferees appointed by House
  • 03/06/2012 Delegates: Cole, Cosgrove, Joannou
  • 03/06/2012 Conferees appointed by Senate
  • 03/06/2012 Senators: Martin, Obenshain, McWaters
  • 03/08/2012 Conference report agreed to by House (65-Y 32-N)
  • 03/08/2012 VOTE: ADOPTION (65-Y 32-N) (see vote tally)
  • 03/09/2012 Conference report agreed to by Senate (20-Y 20-N) (see vote tally)
  • 03/09/2012 Chair votes Yes
  • 03/10/2012 Enrolled
  • 03/10/2012 Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB9ER)
  • 03/10/2012 Signed by Speaker
  • 03/10/2012 Signed by President
  • 03/12/2012 Impact statement from DPB (HB9ER)
  • 04/09/2012 Governor's recommendation received by House
  • 04/17/2012 Placed on Calendar
  • 04/18/2012 House concurred in Governor's recommendation #'s 1, 2, 5, 7 and 10 (65-Y 31-N)
  • 04/18/2012 VOTE: ADOPTION (65-Y 31-N) (see vote tally)
  • 04/18/2012 House rejected Governor's recommendation #'s 3, 8 and 9 (41-Y 55-N)
  • 04/18/2012 VOTE: REJECTED (41-Y 55-N) (see vote tally)
  • 04/18/2012 House rejected Governor's recommendation #'s 4 and 6 (39-Y 55-N)
  • 04/18/2012 VOTE: REJECTED (39-Y 55-N) (see vote tally)
  • 04/18/2012 Senate rejected Governor's recommendations # 1,2,5,7,10 (19-Y 20-N) (see vote tally)
  • 04/18/2012 Communicated to Governor
  • 05/18/2012 G Approved by Governor-Chapter 838 (effective 7/1/12)
  • 05/18/2012 G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0838)

Video

This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 10 clips in all, totaling 1 hour. Click the image of the video to play it.

In the News

Hundreds Protest Stricter Voter ID Laws

February 1, 2012
RICHMOND – Several hundred citizens joined Democratic officials and civil rights leaders at the Capitol on Tuesday to rally against bills they say would suppress the voting rights of minorities, elderly people and low-income Virginians.

Comments

Julie Blust writes:

Strongly oppose HB 9. Photo ID laws keep people of color, students, and seniors from voting. 11 percent of Americans—approximately 23 million citizens of voting age—lack proper photo ID and, as a result, could be turned away from the polls on Election Day. Those without photo ID are disproportionately low-income, disabled, minority, young, and older voters. Photo ID laws also cost millions; at a time when we are facing budget shortfalls, it doesn't make sense to waste money on things we don't need and that don't create jobs.

Anthony Adams writes:

Deal with the problems of Virginia not nonsense.

Richmonder writes:

You can find a video of the Elections subcommittee meeting regarding HB9 at the link below:

http://youtu.be/x99dv8KNM8U

Shonda Harris-Muhammed writes:

I strongly appose HB9, I am unlcear why such a bill would even be discussed except to push the minority population, senior citizens, the young college student, the disabled, many individuals residing in low income housing, and many Native Americans out of their voting rights.

This bill would hurt so many people but lets get to the real issue, that is what Republicans want. Not equal anything. This Bill would bring great damage to the state in terms of voting rights. Even families who are White and are poor this bill would impact them as well.

Constance Teele writes:

As a United States Citizen you should have a right to have a voice no matter who you are, without prejudice this is part of the reason people want to live here. Should voice be taken away for a mistake. Is anyone free of sin we all make mistakes. Its up to us as citizens to show what someone can be, not demean them. The right to vote belongs to all. We are not making our world a better place by putting taking away rights that have been long fought for, lets move forward not backward.

Emile Schepers writes:

The kind of voter fraud that this bill, and others like it around the country, are supposed to prevent is extremely rare. The purpose of the bill is to suppress the vote of population sectors that are less likely to be able to present ID. It should be 0pposed.

Mary Martin writes:

Do you realize how insulting you are when you infer the types of people that can't or don't have an I.D.? Everyone can get an I.D. card at DMV, if they are legally here, everyone has a Social Security card, if they are legally here, so what in the world is the problem. By opposing this bill you insult the very people you pretend to represent. It is a good bill and long overdue. I have to show I.D. to write a check, open up a bank account, open up a charge account and about any other business transaction. So you should have a valid I.D. to vote. It is simple.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Do you realize how insulting you are when you infer the types of people that can't or don't have an I.D.?

It's not insulting, nor is it an inference, to say that the "those without photo ID are disproportionately low-income, disabled, minority, young, and older voters." It's a fact. A survey by the Brennan Center at the NYU School of Law found that 7% of American citizens don't have ID, citizenship papers, or a birth certificate—that is, they don't have ID and they have no way to get it. They also found that people making less than $25,000/year were twice as likely to lack documentation to get identification as people making more than that. 11% of citizens do not have photo ID. That's more than one in ten—21,000,000 adult citizens. 18% of people over the age of 65 don't have ID. 25% of adult African Americans don't have ID. 15% of adults who make $35,000/year or less don't have ID. 18% of 18–24-year-olds don't have ID with a current address.

Again, that's not insulting, nor is it an inference. It's an incontrovertible fact.

Mary Martin writes:

Why would these people not have any form of identification? It simply makes no sense. This study cannot be confirmed as fact, it just does not make any sense. Please explain why any of the people you mention CANNOT get a legal I.D. or social security card? As for the 7% of American citizens not having citizenship papers, if you an American, you don't need citizenship papers. I always consider where any studies are conducted and if it cannot be confirmed to be a non-political group with no ties to either party I take little stock in it. I do not believe NYU School of Law would fit this category. I know many 65 year old people and they all have a social security card and another form of acceptable I.D. If they do not have one, there is some major reason they don't. Just don't buy the excuses not to make this into law. Those that do not believe voter fraud exists are not being realistic. Both parties should support protecting our right to vote considering all the lives given to protect this sacred right. This should be in agreement with both parties.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Why would these people not have any form of identification? It simply makes no sense.

It makes plenty of sense, Mary. For somebody who has never traveled outside of the country, and does not drive, then they may well have no need for identification. Or somebody might want to drive or travel outside of the country, but they cannot get ID for lack of proper documentation.

Please explain why any of the people you mention CANNOT get a legal I.D. or social security card?

Because one must have documentation of identity in order to get an ID card. One that you've got to hav is a birth certificate. But there are millions of Americans, especially in the south, who were born in a time and place when and where African-Americans were not permitted in hospitals, and denied most government services. So they were born at home. They have no birth certificate because they are black. As a result, they have no social security card, because their birth was not recorded to the Social Security Administration. This leaves them with no method of proving who they are. This is just one of the reasons why people cannot get a legal ID.

As for the 7% of American citizens not having citizenship papers, if you an American, you don't need citizenship papers.

Mary, what I wrote was that "7% of American citizens don't have ID, citizenship papers, or a birth certificate—that is, they don't have ID and they have no way to get it." That's a list of valid forms of documentation that one might possess to either vote or get an ID that would allow them to vote. Not needing citizenship papers is different than possessing them. If you know any naturalized citizens (and I suspect that you do not, given your confusion on this point), then you know that they receive documentation at the time that they are naturalized. They could use that to get a valid photo ID. That is, of course, if they didn't lose them in a house fire, home robbery, foreclosure, or to the perils of homelessness.

I always consider where any studies are conducted and if it cannot be confirmed to be a non-political group with no ties to either party I take little stock in it. I do not believe NYU School of Law would fit this category.

For starters, that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. On what basis do you believe that New York University's School of Law is a political group?

But let's ignore that for a moment. I just named one study. There are many. The Associated Press conducted a study of South Carolina and found the same thing. The University of Washington conducted a study of Indiana that also found the same thing. The California Institute of Technology's analysis of Current Population Survey data found the same thing. The Michigan Law review published a seminal paper on the topic by a George Washington University School of Law associate professor of law that found the same thing.

I could go on.

I know many 65 year old people and they all have a social security card and another form of acceptable I.D.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, Mary, and guess that you are a middle- to upper-middle-class, white, Christian, straight, able-bodied, native-born American woman whose friends and family nearly all are in just about the same category. I'm here to tell you that the United States is a place of enormous diversity, and not everybody has been as fortunate as you and your friends. Millions of people didn't do as well in the Great Birth Lottery that you and I did so well in, and were born black / Latino / poor / disabled / very rural, and are consequently far less likely to possess the necessary paperwork that would allow them to get a valid form of identification.

I don't think that somebody should be prohibited from voting because her mother was prohibited from going to a hospital because of her race. Maybe that's just me?

Mary Martin writes:

You are about to fall off that limb! I am a sixty year old grandmother that works a full time and a part time job for a total of 50 to 60 hours a week. I am nowhere near middle and have never been upper class. At my age I would contest the able bodied statement as well. I raised three children all on my own for over twenty years, without child support or living on welfare. I afforded all three children the opportunity to go to college and put myself in college at age 40 and graduated with two associate degrees.

I question if you have actually read this bill. There is nothing in this bill that would deny any person in this country legally the right to vote. The choices of verification is vast, not limited to any single item. Read the list of acceptable items that will afford you to vote. This hysteria needs to quiet down, both parties should support this bill. For the record I am an Independent voter and will always be one. I support many things from both sides of the aisle and this bill should be supported from both sides of the aisle.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

I question if you have actually read this bill. There is nothing in this bill that would deny any person in this country legally the right to vote.

Sure I have, Mary. Again—and I can't make this any clearer—7% of Virginians would be prohibited from voting under this bill, despite that they are legally entitled to vote. You support this this bill because you worry that maybe, somewhere, somebody in Virginia is voting who shouldn't be, even though there's zero evidence of that happening. I'm opposing this bill because I know that thousands of Virginians will be barred from voting because of it. You're worried about boogeymen, and ignoring the actual problem that will unquestionably result from this.

Oh, and it looks like I was basically on target with my guess about your demographics. :) I said that, given your beliefs, you're probably "a middle- to upper-middle-class, white, Christian, straight, able-bodied, native-born American woman whose friends and family nearly all are in just about the same category." Eight out of nine is pretty good! You should get out of that bubble, maybe meet a few people who will be prohibited from voting because their mother was black in the era of Jim Crow. I think you'd find it awfully difficult to tell such a person, to their face, "I don't think you should be allowed to vote." At least, I hope so.

Michael writes:

Hope you don't mind me jumping in here, but you're playing fast and loose with the facts, Waldo.

Earler you cited a study that, in your words, says that "7% of American citizens don't have ID, citizenship papers, or a birth certificate". Even if I accept this as "incontrovertible fact", it does not equate to 7% of Virginians. This may seem a minor issue, but if you are willing to exaggerate and stretch the truth about Virginians, it makes me wonder what else you've stretched.

As to your latter point that these 7% would be "prohibited from voting", this is just patently false.

Had you actually read the proposed Bill to amend the Code of Virginia, you would have known that the identification requirements are not new and that individuals who will not or cannot produce the required documentation have always been, and will continue to be, allowed to vote.

I'm willing to discuss this further, but only if you are willing to actually read the bill. They've made it easy for you if you follow the link above. The added text is indicated with yellow highlight and the deleted text is indicated with a strikethrough.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Earler you cited a study that, in your words, says that "7% of American citizens don't have ID, citizenship papers, or a birth certificate". Even if I accept this as "incontrovertible fact", it does not equate to 7% of Virginians.

I was being generous, Michael. In fact, the rate is almost certainly higher in Virginia, because it was a Jim Crow state (which is why the Department of Justice has to approve any changes in district boundaries), meaning that substantially more black citizens lack birth certificates and, consequently, government-issued photo identification.

Had you actually read the proposed Bill to amend the Code of Virginia, you would have known that the identification requirements are not new and that individuals who will not or cannot produce the required documentation have always been, and will continue to be, allowed to vote.

You've got that 100% wrong, Michael. Identification is optional. Anybody can sign a form that says "I am who I claim to be." They cast the same ballot as anybody else—none of this "provisional" business.

A provisional ballots is quite frequently a pretend ballot, a way to make somebody think that they have voted when, in fact, they have not. At all. As the Wall Street Journal reported in 2008, "in 2004, 1.9 million provisional ballots were cast nationwide, of which 676,000 weren't counted." In some states, districts, and precincts, provisional ballots are completely ignored if their total number is less than the difference between the winner's vote and the loser's vote. Those votes simply don't count. (I have no idea what the standard is in Virginia, if there even is one. Many states have no standards for counting provisional ballots.) As one expert on the topic testified before Congress in 2004, provisional ballots are frequently "a way to brush off troublesome voters by letting them think they have voted."

By requiring identification, the message will be perfectly clear to people who do not possess ID and lack the paperwork that would allow them to possess ID: do not vote. And those who bother to show up will be allowed to cast a pretend vote. If the 2004 count is a benchmark, they'll be able to cast three-fifths of a vote. Letting black Virginians cast three-fifths of a vote? Gosh, that sure sonds familiar.

They've made it easy for you if you follow the link above. The added text is indicated with yellow highlight and the deleted text is indicated with a strikethrough.

"They"? I built this site, Michael. Every stitch of it. The words are yellow because I made them yellow.

Michael writes:

Again, read the proposed legislation and make pertinent, lucid comments about the text itself and I'll be willing to continue discussing this particular bill.

As to your concern that "provisional ballots are completely ignored if their total number is less than the difference between the winner's vote and the loser's vote", perhaps you should take some Poly Sci classes to help you understand how this all works.

What do you think happens to your vode once a clear winner has been determined. Do you honestly think that they keep counting when it will make no difference?

Waldo Jaquith writes:

As to your concern that "provisional ballots are completely ignored if their total number is less than the difference between the winner's vote and the loser's vote",

That's not a "concern"—it's a fact. Note the Wall Street Journal citation.

perhaps you should take some Poly Sci classes to help you understand how this all works.

I hold a degree in political science.

What do you think happens to your vode once a clear winner has been determined. Do you honestly think that they keep counting when it will make no difference?

There is no question whatsoever that all non-provisional votes are counted. The failure to continue counting at that point would be both illegal and transparently obvious, since the tally of precinct voters would not match the tally of counted votes. I have been an election observer on a half-dozen occasions here in Virginia, and know the process well. During the Deeds-McDonnell AG election, one of the candidates had me serve as a recount observer, representing the candidate, and I was invited to join the court proceedings in Richmond to assist in the process there, as well.

Michael writes:

How do you do the quote thing? I'd like to start using it. That being said, I still cannot find where the cited Wall Street Journal article says that provisional ballots are completely ignored, but I'll take your word that it's in the article somewhere.

the other things..... well I knew them. Your bio is publicly available by following a quick link. Sorry for having a bit of fun at your expense, but you've helped tremendously.

You know that failure to count all votes would be transparently obvious, but have offered no evidence, other than citing articles about what may be happening in other states, that provisional ballots in Virginia would be ignored. Virginia already has legislation in place for provisional ballots (§ 24.2-653, http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+24.2-653) and it is referenced by this bill.

Included in the existing Code of Virginia subsection dealing with provisional ballots is:

"One authorized representative of each political party or independent candidate in a general or special election or one authorized representative of each candidate in a primary election shall be permitted to remain in the room in which the determination is being made so long as he does not impede the orderly conduct of the determination."

and

"The general registrar shall notify in writing pursuant to § 24.2-114 those persons found not properly registered."

So, why again do you think that provisional votes will be ignored?

Mary Martin writes:

I am astounded that you still consider me to be middle to upper income! I don't even qualify as lower income, I fall into the poverty level right now. Grew up that way on a tobacco farm raised by only my Dad. The only thing I see you and agree on is I am straight and I am not a world traveler.

Michael, I am so glad someone else has actually read the bill. Those that do not believe voter fraud exists do not face facts. Just because perhaps it has not been a Virginia problem in the past, it is a growing problem in this country. I appreciate Virginia being proactive in heading this off.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

I am astounded that you still consider me to be middle to upper income!

I don't. I said I was right about everything but one. That, clearly, was where I erred. :)

Waldo Jaquith writes:

the other things..... well I knew them. Your bio is publicly available by following a quick link. Sorry for having a bit of fun at your expense, but you've helped tremendously.

So you have acted in poor faith and been dishonest. Noted.

You know that failure to count all votes would be transparently obvious, but have offered no evidence, other than citing articles about what may be happening in other states, that provisional ballots in Virginia would be ignored.

"May be"? "Other states"? I provided articles about something occurring nationally. The onus is on you to demonstrate that it is not happening here. I don't know the unemployment rate in Virginia, but I know it nationally, and a reasonable individual would consequently conclude that Virginia has unemployed people. I don't know the number of people on death row in Virginia, but I know that the death penalty is legal here, and a reasonable individual would consequently conclude that there are people on death row here.

To repeat myself: By requiring identification, the message will be perfectly clear to people who do not possess ID and lack the paperwork that would allow them to possess ID: do not vote. And those who bother to show up will be allowed to cast a pretend vote. If the 2004 count is a benchmark, they'll be able to cast three-fifths of a vote.

The Charlottesville Electoral Board weighed in on this bill today, approving a motion opposing strongly this bill, saying among other things that:

the alternative to presenting photo identification—the signing of an Affirmation of Identity under penalty of perjury—is a sufficient deterrent to voter fraud and should be retained as an option under the Virginia Code and urge that HB 9, which eliminates this alternative...also be tabled.

It's a three person board, and two of those people are Republicans.

Alton Foley writes:

Waldo, let's be honest. Current law requires the following; "The officer shall ask the voter to present any one of the following forms of identification: his Commonwealth of Virginia voter registration card, his social security card, his valid Virginia driver's license, or any other identification card issued by a government agency of the Commonwealth, one of its political subdivisions, or the United States; or any valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer's business."

The only change this law makes is the following addition; ... if a voter is entitled to vote except that he is unable to present one of the forms of identification listed above, he shall be allowed to vote a provisional ballot after signing a statement, subject to felony penalties for false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, that he is the named registered voter who he claims to be. The State Board of Elections shall provide instructions to the electoral boards for the handling and counting of such provisional ballots pursuant to subsection B of § 24.2-653 and this section.

The final sentence above is the proposed addition. Please tell me how that is racist.

Alton Foley writes:

And that is the only addition to current law.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

The only change this law makes is the following addition; ... if a voter is entitled to vote except that he is unable to present one of the forms of identification listed above, he shall be allowed to vote a provisional ballot after signing a statement, subject to felony penalties for false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, that he is the named registered voter who he claims to be. The State Board of Elections shall provide instructions to the electoral boards for the handling and counting of such provisional ballots pursuant to subsection B of § 24.2-653 and this section.

No, Alton, that is not the only change that this bill would make to the law. There are many more changes.

Claire writes:

Alton, if you click on "full text," you see way more text highlighted in yellow (additions) than what you included and plenty of sections in red with cross-outs, meaning proposed cuts to the existing law.

JWH3RD writes:

Banks require validation of identity for anyone to open an account. Is this financial suppression? No.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Amusement parks require that you be this high to ride the roller coaster. Is this amusement suppression? No.