Feb 5, 2012

GOP Hypocrisy Clearly Visible on Voter ID Bills

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With the total Republican sweep of the Virginia General Assembly, came bills to turn Virginia hard right in terms of social policy, giving Virginia Republicans the opportunity to pass laws that have been highly controversial, and possibly unconstitutional. As usual, Republicans have decided to focus on God, guns, gays.

Blocking Obama voters

In addition, Republicans in Virginia are also following a national trend to make both registering to vote and the action of voting more difficult in the name of preventing voter fraud. However, the focus on additional barriers to voting is clearly a tactic being employed by Republicans nationally to reduce turnout of some segments of voters who would be more inclined to vote to re-elect President Obama this year.

Evidence of a problem?

Democrats are questioning whether additional barriers to voting, including the requirement of presenting a photo I.D. at the time of registration or at the polling place, are necessary. Democrats want to see evidence of voter fraud before legislation is passed to make voting more difficult. Republicans argue that evidence doesn’t exist because there aren’t any laws in place that would collect the data.

Haven’t we heard this before?

Earlier this session, a bill to prohibit discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation introduced by Senator Adam Ebbin died in committee in the Virginia Senate. Similar bills have passed the Senate in the past, only to die in the Republican controlled House. With Republicans now in control of the Senate, this bill didn’t even make it out of committee. What reason have Republicans given not to prohibit discrimination? They argue that there’s no evidence that discrimination based on sexual orientation is taking place.

Is it about people or power?

It’s sad that Virginia Republicans are more concerned about doing what they can to try to defeat President Obama this year by pushing legislation to make voting more difficult, even though they aren’t able to show that voter fraud is an issue. It’s perhaps even sadder that they continually turn a blind eye to the fact that it is possible for Virginians to be fired solely on the basis of their sexual discrimination.