RICHMOND, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — The Virginia House has passed legislation that tightens requirements for in-person voting, measures that opponents say is a Republican effort to suppress the vote of minorities, the elderly and students.
On mostly party line votes, the House passed bills that require voters to bring photo identification to polling places to verify their identities and that force people to wait at least five days after registering to vote for their absentee ballot applications to be processed.
Democrats said the obstacles are particularly burdensome to voters who are older, poorer, younger or those who may have just had the misfortune to surrender a license during a traffic stop a few days before an election.
Some black leaders compared the measures Jim Crow-era voter suppression and accused the GOP of intending to “lynch democracy.”
“There are those who are still angry that in 2008 Virginia decided to do the right thing,” Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) said this week. Locke was referring to President Barack Obama’s victory in the state, the first for a Democrat running for president since 1964.
Undaunted, Republicans used their two-thirds House majority to muscle both bills through, saying they stop voter fraud.
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