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Results tagged “Voting”

April 18, 2014

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The Roanoke Times reports, "Gov. Terry McAuliffe plans to announce today that he will shrink the time violent felons must wait to seek reinstatement of their voting rights and will remove some offenses from that list. The policy, slated to take effect April 21, comes on top of years of work to streamline the process, and aims to make the system easier to understand and to allow more felons to petition the state more quickly. In a series of changes to the state's restoration of rights process, McAuliffe plans to collapse the application waiting period from five to three years for people convicted of violent felonies and others that require a waiting period, and to remove drug offenses from that list."

Progressive Point: Virginia is home to the longest continuously serving legislature in America. We cherish our voting system and demand that it be free, fair, and equally accessible to everyone. Virginians who have paid their debt to society deserve to fully rejoin our community and regain their right to vote. We believe as Americans that all legally eligible voters should have an equal opportunity to have their say on Election Day.

In a nation founded on the principle that we're all created equal, voting is the one time when we all have the same say. Voting is a fundamental freedom guaranteed by more Constitutional amendments than any other right we have. As Americans we have a duty to protect that fundamental freedom everywhere--including ensuring that right is restored to our fellow Americans who have paid their debt to society. From its founding principles to the Voting Rights Amendments, our Constitution guarantees our right to vote -- whether man or woman, young or old, rich or poor.

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  • "Virginians who have made a mistake and paid their debt to society should have their voting rights restored through a process that is as transparent and responsive as possible... These changes will build on the process Virginia has in place to increase transparency for applicants and ensure that we are restoring Virginians' civil rights quickly and efficiently after they have applied and observed any necessary waiting period." - Gov. McAuliffe (Roanoke Times, April 18, 2014)

  • Since Gov. McAuliffe took office, over 800 Virginians have had their civil rights restored. That includes, "the right to vote, hold public office, serve on a jury and serve as a notary public." (Roanoke Times, April 18, 2014)

  • Only eight states that permanently disenfranchise people with certain criminal convictions. Virginia is one of them and must  approve an individual's rights restoration. (Roanoke Times, April 18, 2014)

  • Virginia has about 350,000 disenfranchised citizens. (Roanoke Times, April 18, 2014)

  • "Several groups have advocated for years for changes to the state's restoration process. The ACLU of Virginia and the NAACP called on McDonnell to take executive action and automatically restore voting rights to ex-offenders, as they had urged governors in the past. The ACLU also advocated for most drug offenses to be classified as nonviolent, under the previous administration." (Roanoke Times, April 18, 2014)

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March 20, 2014

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The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, "State election officials are ahead of schedule with the multistage implementation plan of Virginia's new voter ID law that takes effect July 1... The state is organizing a marketing campaign and vetting vendors charged with the creation of a voter identification card that will meet requirements under the new law, according to a plan and timeline developed by the State Board of Elections."

Progressive Point: Voting is a fundamental freedom held dear by all Virginians regardless of for whom they vote. New conservative voter ID laws requiring specific forms of ID are a blatant attempt by politicians to control who wins Virginia's elections. Partisan legislation that will go into effect in July threatens our constitutionally protected right to vote and will stop registered Virginians from participating in our democracy.

Voter restrictions designed to prevent senior, low income, and minority voters from voting will also cost Virginia taxpayers millions of dollars a year. By requiring forms of ID they know many of us don't have, conservatives in Richmond made it harder to exercise our constitutionally protected right to vote. Instead of making it harder for Virginians to vote, our leaders should be focused on fixing the long lines so many voters encounter, rather than forcing us to wait in line for hours cast a ballot.

Get the Facts:

  • Conservative legislation from the 2013 Virginia General Assembly eliminates several previously valid forms of voter ID. The legislation will subject Virginians to three new voter ID requirements in three years. (ProgressVA, February 5, 2013)
  • Virginia's new voter ID law will take effect on July 1, requiring Virginians to have a photo ID to vote. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 9, 2014)
  • In 2012, "Virginia spent $2 million last year mailing new cards to all registered voters and educating Virginians about changes the 2012 General Assembly made to voting requirements." (Virginian-Pilot, February 13, 2013)
  • On Election Day in 2012 some Fairfax voters were forced to wait until 10:30 PM, three and a half hours after the polls closed, to cast their votes. One possible cause may be partisan opposition to the approval of qualified poll workers. (Washington Post, November 14, 2012)
  • The 2012 voter ID law passed in Virginia forced voters who did not bring one of the approved forms of ID to the poll to cast a provisional ballots that was only counted if they reported to their election office with an approved ID within three days of the election. (Virginian-Pilot, July 30, 2012)
  • The Virginia voter ID legislation is a "solution in search of a problem" and designed to suppress voters who would likely not vote for Republicans - minorities, younger voters such as students, immigrants, and also the elderly. (Washington Post Editorial Board, March 12, 2012)
  • "The idea that we must stand in line for hours to cast a ballot turns the process into an endurance contest. It's ludicrous. It's the General Assembly's job to ensure that everyone who is eligible can vote in an orderly, timely manner. Virginia Beach can buy more voting machines, reconfigure precincts, publicize what's on each ballot and ensure that precincts have plenty of knowledgeable poll workers. But until the General Assembly acknowledges its own responsibility in making voting accessible, Election Day in Virginia will remain an affront to the democratic process." (Virginian-Pilot Editorial Board, March 13, 2014)

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March 13, 2014

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The Virginian-Pilot Editorial Board opines, "Some voters in Virginia Beach's College Park precinct waited in line four hours and 59 minutes in the 2012 presidential election. In two other city precincts, voters waited more than four hours...Virginia's General Assembly refuses to allow early voting. It refuses even to give senior citizens the option of voting absentee without having an excuse for why they can't vote on Election Day. Rather than allow voting at the city's elections office a week or two before, lawmakers have repeatedly shot down all efforts to expand voting hours past the 13-hour window on Election Day."

Progressive Point: In the world's leading democracy, voting should be free, fair, and accessible for all. By refusing to fix election day lines and requiring forms of ID they know many of us don't have, conservatives in Richmond made it harder to exercise our constitutionally protected right to vote. Instead of making it harder for Virginians to vote, our leaders should be focused on fixing the long lines so many voters encounter, rather than forcing us to wait in line for hours cast a ballot.

Long lines might as well be a poll tax for working class and hourly-wage workers who can't leave work for hours to vote. Our right to vote is the most basic principle of our democracy. Parents, seniors, and working Virginians need flexibility that allows them to vote early or on weekends. This is America - it should be voters choosing our leaders, not politicians choosing voters.

Get the Facts:

  • "The idea that we must stand in line for hours to cast a ballot turns the process into an endurance contest. It's ludicrous. It's the General Assembly's job to ensure that everyone who is eligible can vote in an orderly, timely manner. Virginia Beach can buy more voting machines, reconfigure precincts, publicize what's on each ballot and ensure that precincts have plenty of knowledgeable poll workers. But until the General Assembly acknowledges its own responsibility in making voting accessible, Election Day in Virginia will remain an affront to the democratic process." (Virginian-Pilot Editorial Board, March 13, 2014)
  • Conservative legislation from the 2013 Virginia General Assembly eliminates several previously valid forms of voter ID. The legislation will subject Virginians to three new voter ID requirements in three years. (ProgressVA, February 5, 2013)
  • Virginia's new voter ID law will take effect on July 1, requiring Virginians to have a photo ID to vote. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 9, 2014)
  • In 2012, "Virginia spent $2 million last year mailing new cards to all registered voters and educating Virginians about changes the 2012 General Assembly made to voting requirements." (Virginian-Pilot, February 13, 2013)
  • On Election Day in 2012 some Fairfax voters were forced to wait until 10:30 PM, three and a half hours after the polls closed, to cast their votes. One possible cause may be partisan opposition to the approval of qualified poll workers. (Washington Post, November 14, 2012)
  • The 2012 voter ID law passed in Virginia forced voters who did not bring one of the approved forms of ID to the poll to cast a provisional ballots that was only counted if they reported to their election office with an approved ID within three days of the election. (Virginian-Pilot, July 30, 2012)
  • The Virginia voter ID legislation is a "solution in search of a problem" and designed to suppress voters who would likely not vote for Republicans - minorities, younger voters such as students, immigrants, and also the elderly. (Washington Post Editorial Board, March 12, 2012)

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Ensure everyone can vote in Virginia

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February 3, 2014

The Washington Post editorializes, "Once the recount was over on Monday, control of Virginia's Senate was determined by a margin of less than a dozen votes in a special election in which a mere 20 percent of registered voters participated. This wasn't the first time a high-stakes race depended on an unhealthily small sliver of the electorate. Maybe only so many people will ever bother with a state senate special election. But registration and turnout would be a lot higher across the board if voting in the United States weren't a Kafkaesque exercise. Government has got to make voting easier."

Progressive Point: Voting is a fundamental freedom Virginians hold dear, regardless of for whom we vote. We should be focusing on bringing more Virginians into the democratic process, not excluding them from participation. But conservative voter ID laws requiring specific forms of ID are a blatant attempt by politicians to rig the outcome of our elections.

America is the world's leading democracy. We set the example by making sure every eligible American can participate. It should be voters choosing their leaders, but in Virginia, conservative politicians are still trying to pick and choose their voters. Removing barriers to voting will strengthen our democracy and help ensure everyone can make their voice heard.

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Get the Facts:

  • Conservative legislation from the 2013 Virginia General Assembly eliminates several previously valid forms of voter ID. The legislation will subject Virginians to three new voter ID requirements in three years. (ProgressVA, February 5, 2013)
  • Virginia's new voter ID law will take effect on July 1, requiring Virginians to have a photo ID to vote. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 9, 2014)
  • In 2012, "Virginia spent $2 million last year mailing new cards to all registered voters and educating Virginians about changes the 2012 General Assembly made to voting requirements." (Virginian-Pilot, February 13, 2013)
  • On Election Day in 2012 some Fairfax voters were forced to wait until 10:30 PM, three and a half hours after the polls closed, to cast their votes. One possible cause may be partisan opposition to the approval of qualified poll workers. (Washington Post, November 14, 2012)
  • The 2012 voter ID law passed in Virginia forced voters who did not bring one of the approved forms of ID to the poll to cast a provisional ballots that was only counted if they reported to their election office with an approved ID within three days of the election. (Virginian-Pilot, July 30, 2012)
  • The Virginia voter ID legislation is a "solution in search of a problem" and designed to suppress voters who would likely not vote for Republicans - minorities, younger voters such as students, immigrants, and also the elderly. (Washington Post Editorial Board, March 12, 2012)

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Voting restrictions have real costs

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January 10, 2014

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, "The Virginia State Board of Elections on Wednesday approved the final phases of the implementation plan for the new voter ID law that will take effect July 1... Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the photo ID bill into law in March... Under the new law, documents that do not contain a photograph of the voter are no longer acceptable forms of identification when a person is voting in person. However, the new law allows voters without photo ID to cast a provisional ballot on Election Day. The voter then has four days to present identification to their local electoral board for their vote to be counted."

Progressive Point: New conservative voter ID laws requiring specific forms of ID are a blatant attempt by politicians to control who wins Virginia's elections. Partisan legislation that will go into effect in July threatens our constitutionally protected right to vote and will stop registered Virginians from participating in our democracy. Furthermore, voter restrictions designed to prevent senior, low income, and minority voters from voting will also cost Virginia taxpayers millions of dollars a year.

Voting is a fundamental freedom held dear by all Virginians regardless of for whom they vote. We should be focusing on bringing more Virginians into the democratic process, not excluding them from participation. Furthermore, low income Virginians, who can least afford them, are hit the hardest by new voting restrictions. We've never solved anything in this country with less democracy and we won't now.

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Get the Facts:

  • Conservative legislation from the 2013 Virginia General Assembly eliminates several previously valid forms of voter ID. The legislation will subject Virginians to three new voter ID requirements in three years. (ProgressVA, February 5, 2013)
  • In 2012, "Virginia spent $2 million last year mailing new cards to all registered voters and educating Virginians about changes the 2012 General Assembly made to voting requirements." (Virginian-Pilot, February 13, 2013)
  • On Election Day in 2012 some Fairfax voters were forced to wait until 10:30 PM, three and a half hours after the polls closed, to cast their votes. One possible cause may be partisan opposition to the approval of qualified poll workers. (Washington Post, November 14, 2012)
  • The 2012 voter ID law passed in Virginia forced voters who did not bring one of the approved forms of ID to the poll to cast a provisional ballots that was only counted if they reported to their election office with an approved ID within three days of the election. (Virginian-Pilot, July 30, 2012)
  • The Virginia voter ID legislation is a "solution in search of a problem" and designed to suppress voters who would likely not vote for Republicans - minorities, younger voters such as students, immigrants, and also the elderly. (Washington Post Editorial Board, March 12, 2012)

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December 20, 2013

The News & Advance editorializes, "Although no one has demonstrated a clear need for Virginia voters to show a photo of themselves at the polls, state officials are doggedly working toward creating rules for the new identification card needed by July 1... Making it easier to vote never was the point of the photo identification law. Rather, the point seems to be to make it more difficult for people to vote, especially minorities and the elderly. For them, sadly, the more difficult it becomes to vote, the fewer times they will bother to go to the polls."

Progressive Point: Our elections should be free, fair, and accessible. New conservative voter ID rules requiring specific forms of ID are a blatant attempt by politicians to control who wins Virginia's elections. This is America. It should be voters choosing their leaders in our democracy, not politicians picking and choosing their voters.

This new conservative, anti-voting law is solely aimed at preventing law-abiding citizens with the least time and money from voting, including people hit hardest by the recession. Three new voter ID requirements in three years causes fewer voters to be confident they have the necessary ID to cast a ballot. Constantly changing rules, along with conservative assertions that no voter education on the new requirements is necessary, will ensure confusion at polling places. This is America. It should be voters choosing their leaders in our democracy, but in Virginia, conservative politicians are trying to pick and choose their voters.  

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Get the Facts:

  • Conservative legislation from the 2013 Virginia General Assembly eliminates several previously valid forms of voter ID. The legislation will subject Virginians to three new voter ID requirements in three years. (ProgressVA, February 5, 2013)
  • in 2012, "Virginia spent $2 million last year mailing new cards to all registered voters and educating Virginians about changes the 2012 General Assembly made to voting requirements." (Virginian-Pilot, February 13, 2013)
  • On Election Day in 2012 some Fairfax voters were forced to wait until 10:30 PM, three and a half hours after the polls closed, to cast their votes. One possible cause may be partisan opposition to the approval of qualified poll workers. (Washington Post, November 14, 2012)
  • The 2012 voter ID law passed in Virginia forced voters who did not bring one of the approved forms of ID to the poll to cast a provisional ballots that was only counted if they reported to their election office with an approved ID within three days of the election. (Virginian-Pilot, July 30, 2012)

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December 10, 2013

The Washington Post reports, "An attorney for state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain hinted in court Monday that the Republican would consider using an obscure law to throw the outcome of the attorney general's race into the hands of the General Assembly... Even floating the idea of contesting the race through the legislature is an act of political daring. Until now, Republican leaders, including Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), have indicated that they thought a challenge would be inappropriate unless evidence of major voting irregularities emerged."

Progressive Point: Millions of Virginians voted in November and every vote should count. Now Mark Obenshain is trying to throw out valid votes just to win an election. Even worse, his lawyer has threatened to ignore every voter and instead ask his colleagues in the legislature to overturn the election. The right to vote and choose our leaders is at the heart of what it means to be an American. Every vote should count and every vote should be protected.

Virginians should never have to worry whether every vote is going to be counted. Conservatives across the country have tried to make it more difficult to register and to vote. Obenshain even sponsored Virginia's very own photo ID law. But it's clear now that even if you successfully cast a ballot, Obenshain still isn't sure he wants to let it count. This is America -- we've never solved anything in this country with less democracy, and we won't now.

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Get the Facts:

  • Sen. Mark Herring beat Sen. Mark Obenshain in November's election for Virginia Attorney General. Herring won by 165 votes, out of 2.2 million total votes cast, and a recount is being conducted. (Washington Post, December 9, 2013)
  • An attorney for Obenshain said that their campaign is considering contesting the recount by using a law that would have the election decided by the Republican controlled General Assembly instead of Virginia voters. (Washington Post, December 9, 2013)
  • Conservative legislation from the 2013 Virginia General Assembly eliminates several previously valid forms of voter ID. The legislation will subject Virginians to three new voter ID requirements in three years. (ProgressVA, February 5, 2013)
  • The 2012 voter ID law passed in Virginia forced voters who did not bring one of the approved forms of ID to the poll to cast a provisional ballots that was only counted if they reported to their election office with an approved ID within three days of the election. (Virginian-Pilot, July 30, 2012)

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December 9, 2013

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, "With implementation of Virginia's new voter ID law seven months away, state election officials are scrambling to affordably create a photo ID card that will be provided to voters for free... Democrats and several civic groups opposed the implementation of the new photo ID law, arguing that it will make it more difficult to vote... Another concern is whether the program will be implemented in a way that does not adversely affect the voting rights of minorities, people with mobility limitations, people dependent on public transportation, and others who may have difficulty accessing free IDs at registrars' offices that may be far from their home."

Progressive Point: Our elections should be free, fair, and accessible. New conservative voter ID laws make it harder for seniors, students, minorities and lower income Virginians to vote. Requiring specific forms of ID is a blatant attempt by politicians to control who wins Virginia's elections. It should be voters choosing their leaders in our democracy, but in Virginia, conservative politicians are trying to pick and choose their voters.

The fundamental right to vote and choose our leaders is at the heart of what it means to be an American. This conservative anti-voting law is solely aimed at preventing law-abiding citizens with the least time and money from voting, including people hit hardest by the recession. Its requirement that voters, many of them life-long voters, travel to the General Registrar's office in order to obtain a new ID is an unnecessary and costly burden on these low-income voters. Conservative lawmakers in Richmond have demonstrated yet again their disregard for the fundamental right to vote we cherish as Virginians. 

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Get the Facts:

  • Conservative legislation from the 2013 Virginia General Assembly eliminates several previously valid forms of voter ID. The legislation will subject Virginians to three new voter ID requirements in three years. (ProgressVA, February 5, 2013)
  • in 2012, "Virginia spent $2 million last year mailing new cards to all registered voters and educating Virginians about changes the 2012 General Assembly made to voting requirements." (Virginian-Pilot, February 13, 2013)
  • On Election Day in 2012 some Fairfax voters were forced to wait until 10:30 PM, three and a half hours after the polls closed, to cast their votes. One possible cause may be partisan opposition to the approval of qualified poll workers. (Washington Post, November 14, 2012)
  • The 2012 voter ID law passed in Virginia forced voters who did not bring one of the approved forms of ID to the poll to cast a provisional ballots that was only counted if they reported to their election office with an approved ID within three days of the election. (Virginian-Pilot, July 30, 2012)

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The cost of gerrymandering

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November 12, 2013

The Richmond Times-Dispatch editorializes, "In a state with fairly drawn districts, the number of seats held by a party should be proportional to its share of the popular vote: If a party gets two-thirds of the vote statewide, then it should hold two-thirds of the seats. Thanks to precision gerrymandering, Virginia has nothing like that... [T]he two-party breakdown was 54.4 percent for Republicans to 40.3 for Democrats... Yet Republicans will have 67 seats in the House, meaning the GOP topped its popular vote share by about 13 seats. Gerrymandering gives them a partisan advantage they do not deserve."

Progressive Point: This is America. It should be voters choosing their leaders in our democracy. But in Virginia, partisan politicians pick and choose their voters for the House of Delegates. The integrity of our elections should be paramount. But today, the biggest threat to our democracy is gerrymandering to change the rules and rig elections in their favor.

From gerrymandering Virginia's House of Delegates to making it harder for hundreds of thousands of Virginians to cast a ballot, conservative lawmakers have pursued an agenda that would ensure our votes count less, or not at all. Our elections should be free, fair, and accessible. The underhanded schemes Richmond conservatives have pushed are simply an attempt to push us aside and pick and choose their own voters. In the world's leading democracy, voting is the one thing that should bring us all together and the one time when we all have the same say as Americans.

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  • While Republican House of Delegate candidates received just 54.4% of the votes, they will control 67 out of 100 seats thanks to gerrymandering. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 12, 2013)
  • Gerrymandering is also a major problem in Virginia at the Congressional level. In 2012, President "Obama received 51.15 percent of Virginians' votes. Kaine got 52.86. And yet eight of the 11 members of the congressional delegation are Republicans, who won a grand total - statewide - of 70,000 more votes than Democratic candidates. Across Virginia, Kaine won 225,000 more votes than Republican George Allen. Obama won 150,000 more than Romney." (Virginian-Pilot, October 20, 2013)

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Count every vote

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November 7, 2013

The Virginian-Pilot reports, "For the second time in less than a decade, a down-to-the-wire race for Virginia attorney general seems headed for a recount. According to see-saw state election statistics as of late Wednesday, Democrat Mark Herring and Republican Mark Obenshain were locked in all but a dead heat. Obenshain led by 681 votes out of 2.2 million cast. A margin that small, if it holds, will spur a recount. State law allows defeated candidates to request one if the difference is less than 1 percentage point."

Progressive Point: The right to vote and choose our leaders is at the heart of what it means to be an American. Tuesday's election for Attorney General is still too close to call and provisional ballots are at risk of not being counted. Right now, we need to make sure every voter is protected and every vote is counted.

All voters should have an equal opportunity to have their say on Election Day no matter how they vote on Tuesday. Thousands of Virginians cast provisional ballots, and if you are one of them your fundamental right to choose your leaders is at risk of being thrown out. If you forgot your ID on Tuesday and your provisional ballot was put in a green envelope, you must get a copy of your ID to the registrar by Friday for your vote to count. This is America -- we've never solved anything in this country with less democracy, and we won't now.

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  • To make sure your vote gets counted, call the  voter information hotline right now at 1-855-910-VOTE (8683).

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A vote for progress

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November 6, 2013

The Washington Post reports, "Of the many lessons to draw from Virginia's unusual gubernatorial election Tuesday, one of the most surprising was Democrat Terry McAuliffe's victory even while supporting such liberal policies as same-sex marriage and stricter gun controls... Stepping back from the ebbs and flows of the past few weeks, an overall message of the campaign was a shift to the left on such issues as guns and gays."

Progressive Point: Yesterday Virginians voted for progress. We voted for health care access for our families, gun violence prevention, and the importance of home front investments across the Commonwealth. Now it is time for our elected officials to work together and start building the Virginia we voted for.

This election was a signal to our leaders to focus on issues that have real, progressive impacts on real people. Throughout Virginia, businesses, parents, and seniors have struggled with the government shutdown and are still struggling with the consequences of the sequester -- layoffs, closures, safety risks, less health care and education. Tea party politicians like Ken Cuccinelli lose because they want to cut the services we need like health care access and education while laying off the Americans who keep our country running, like teachers and firefighters. Yesterday was a vote to stop protecting conservative and corporate special interests and start prioritizing ordinary Americans.

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  • Bipartisan research conducted on behalf of Mayors Against Illegal Guns found broad support in Virginia for stronger violence prevention measures. (Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 11/30/12)
  •  
    • 88% of Virginians support requiring gun owners to pass a background check.
  •  
    • 91% of Virginia gun households support requiring gun owners to pass a background check.
  • Efforts to limit women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including safe and legal abortion, are overwhelmingly opposed by Virginians.
  •  
    • 86 percent of Virginia voters believe abortion should be legal in all or some circumstances. (NBC News, 4/10/13)
  •  
    • 58 percent of Virginians oppose the new building requirements for first-trimester abortion services, compared to 35% who favor them. (Virginia Coalition to Protect Women's Health, 3/20/13)
    • Over 3,600 Virginians submitted public comments opposing the regulations, which were delivered to the Board of Health by ProgressVA and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. (ProgressVA, 3/28/13)
  • "About half of all uninsured veterans in Virginia and more than half of all VA only insured veterans could qualify for coverage under Medicaid expansion; meaning they had incomes below 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level in 2010 ($26,000 for a family of three)." (The Commonwealth Institute, February 1, 2013)
  •  
    • "Providing earned citizenship for" currently undocumented immigrant "workers would increase their wages and, over 10 years, boost U.S. GDP by $1.4 trillion, increase total income for all Americans by $791 billion, generate $184 billion in additional state an
  •  
    • d federal tax revenue from currently undocumented immigrants, and add about 2 million jobs to the U.S. economy."
  •  
    • "Compared to the benefits of citizenship, providing legal status alone to currently undocumented workers would, over 10 years, result in $568 billion less GDP, and $321 billion less total income. An estimated 820,000 fewer total jobs would be created, and federal and state governments would lose out on $75 billion in additional tax revenue according to outside estimates."

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November 5, 2013

Politico reports, "Vice President Joe Biden on Monday delivered a closing pitch for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, painting the Virginia race as a major test of the mainstream electorate's answer to a resurgent tea party. 'This race has captured the attention of the entire nation,' Biden said. 'Not just because it's a ... race in a bellwether state that has become the face of progress in this country. But because it's the first major race between the forces and faces of the new Republican tea party -- a tea party whose social recidivism is only outgunned by its hostility to science and technology and innovation and scholarship.'"

Progressive Point: There is a lot at stake today for Virginia and if you don't vote, you can't complain. We're Americans. In a nation founded on the principle that we're all created equal, voting is the one time when we are all equal and have the same say.

Today is Virginia's opportunity for voters to choose our leaders, instead of politicians choosing voters. It's our responsibility as American citizens to participate in our great democracy, even if some politicians and their allies are pulling out all the stops to stop us. Voting is your chance to take control over what happens to your family and your community. We all need to vote and make sure the politicians know we count and matter.

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Get the Facts:

  • Do you know what form of ID you need to bring? View the official list here.

  • You can find your up-to-date polling place, driving directions, absentee voting information and more on the State Board of Election's website.

  • If you encounter any sort of problem at your polling place or have a question, call the nonpartisan election protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Examples of potential issues at the polls include:
    • Long lines
    • Voter intimidation
    • Suspicious behavior
    • Voting machine malfunctions
    • Registration errors

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November 4, 2013

The Martinsville Bulletin reports, "What are you doing Tuesday? If you are a registered voter, we hope you will take the time to cast your ballot in the state and local elections. There are candidates and races to engage all voters this time around. On the state level, the control of the governor's mansion for the next four years is at stake. Virginians will elect a new attorney general who will provide legal advice and representation to the governor and executive agencies, state boards and commissions and institutions of higher learning. They also will chose a new lieutenant governor, who will preside over -- and break ties in -- the state Senate. All three are important positions in determining Virginia's future in the coming years. Voters also will select members of the Virginia House of Delegates, who serve two-year terms."

Progressive Point: Our fundamental right to vote and choose our leaders is at the heart of what it means to be an American. Voters should choose their leaders. However, conservative politicians in Richmond have tried to make it the other way around. Tomorrow is our opportunity to stand up to those politicians and special interests trying to keep those who disagree with them from voting at all.

As the world's leading democracy, we cherish our voting system and want it to be free, fair, and accessible, even if conservatives are manipulating our voting laws to make it harder to vote. If they can't count on you to vote their way, they want to keep you from being counted at all. It's our responsibility as American citizens to participate in our great democracy, even if some politicians and their allies are pulling out all the stops to stop us.

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Get the Facts:

  • Do you know what form of ID you need to bring? View the official list here.

  • You can find your up-to-date polling place, driving directions, absentee voting information and more on the State Board of Election's website.

  • If you encounter any sort of problem at your polling place or have a question, call the nonpartisan election protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Examples of potential issues at the polls include:
    • Long lines
    • Voter intimidation
    • Suspicious behavior
    • Voting machine malfunctions
    • Registration errors

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October 28, 2013

Lawrence C. Haake III, Chesterfield County's general registrar, opines in the Richmond Times Dispatch, "House Bill 1764 (HB1764), directing the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) to cooperate with other states to develop systems to compare voter registration lists" resulted in "voters being canceled who were still living in their respective locality, despite their names being on an out-of-state list... Voter confidence in the electoral system has been damaged since 2000. There is no need to exacerbate the lack of voter confidence by poorly thought-out processes and programs."

Progressive Point: This is America. Voters should choose their leaders in our democracy. But in Virginia, conservative politicians in Richmond are trying to pick and choose who can vote. Voting is a fundamental freedom. Our leaders should be working to protect our democracy, not making it harder for eligible voters to vote.

Virginia's conservative lawmakers didn't like losing the last election to President Obama and Senator Kaine, so now they're trying to rig the one next week. Just before this year's election, conservative politicians have pushed a new effort to purge legal voters. We have never solved anything in this county with less democracy and we shouldn't start now. All Virginia voters should have an equal opportunity to have their say on Election Day.

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  • House Bill 1764 (HB1764) gave the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) "the authority under Virginia law to participate in programs for interstate cross-checking of voter lists as of July 1, 2013." However, the SBE started participating 6 months earlier in January, 2013. (Richmond Times Dispatch, October 27, 2013)

  • In August, the SBE emailed localities a list of voters to review for cancellation. Shortly after reports surfaced that legal voters were being purged erroneously. (Richmond Times Dispatch, October 27, 2013)

  • In Chesterfield County, 174 of the 1,001 of the voters the SBE reported to be ineligible were actually legal voters who should never have been on the list. (Richmond Times Dispatch, October 27, 2013)

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October 15, 2013

WTVR reports, "We're less than a month away from Election Day and today is your last chance to make sure you're ready to vote. In order to vote in the commonwealth you must be a resident of Virginia, be 18 years of age, not registered to vote in any other state and you must have not have been declared incompetent by a court of law. If you're a felon, you must have your rights restored before you can vote. You can register by going to the State Board of Elections website. You can also download a paper form. Those must be postmarked by 5 p.m. today. If you're not sure if you're registered, you can find out by calling 1-800-552-9745"

Progressive Point: We're Americans and voting is our civic duty. It is also our opportunity to stand up to the politicians and special interests who are trying to keep us from voting. Right here in Virginia, many conservative politicians in Richmond are still trying to pick and choose their voters by targeting the voters who disagree with them. We ensure our Commonwealth continues to honor the spirit of the Voting Rights Act and protects Virginians' fundamental right to vote by casting a ballot ourselves.

As the world's leading democracy, we cherish our voting system and want it to be free, fair, and accessible to everyone. Voting is a fundamental freedom, and our leaders should be working to protect our democracy, not making it harder for eligible voters to vote. It's our responsibility as American citizens to participate in our great democracy, even if some politicians and their allies are pulling out all the stops to stop us. In the United States, and especially here in the state known as "the Mother of Presidents," voting is the one thing that should bring us all together and the one time when we all have the same say as Americans. Let's keep it that way.

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How to Register via vote.virginia.gov:

Register online

To register to vote, you must complete a voter registration application. Use this website to fill out the online application form.

You can also download a blank mail-in voter registration application and complete it by hand.

Other ways to register

Voters may complete registration applications in person at a local election official office, DMV, and other Virginia government agencies. Learn more.


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August 28, 2013

ABC News reports, "The same Voting Rights Act that grew partially from the March on Washington 50 years ago into one of the most successful civil rights-era laws has become a source of rancor, even straining the traditional coalition of Republicans and Democrats who have come together in favor of such vigilance. Marking half a century since the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. King gave voice to the aspirations of millions of African-Americans across the country is bittersweet for civil rights activists in 2013. 'Within the civil rights movement, there is definitely a sense that there's a continued war on voting and we haven't made it to the mountain top yet,' said Katherine Culliton-González, director of Voter Protection for the Advancement project."

Progressive Point: As the world's leading democracy, we cherish our voting system and want it to be free, fair, and accessible. In America, voters should choose their leaders - however conservatives in Congress and Richmond have tried to make it the other way around. All Virginia voters should have an equal opportunity to have their say on Election Day.

Our leaders in Congress must ensure that all U.S. citizens can register and vote without hassle or headache. As Virginia moves forward with new voting restrictions, we must ensure our Commonwealth continues to honor the spirit of the Voting Rights Act and protects Virginians' fundamental right to vote. Now, Congress must act immediately in a bipartisan fashion to update the Voting Rights Act to protect our access to the ballot box. We have never solved anything in this county with less democracy and we shouldn't start now.

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Get the Facts:

  • In June, the Supreme Court ruled Congress must revise portions of the Voting Rights Act that outline the criteria by which some states and localities must submit changes in their voting laws to the Department of Justice for preclearance. . Conservative obstruction makes passed in the House of Representatives unlikely. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan dissented from the majority opinion, writing they believe in the "continued vitality of the Voting Rights Act's preclearance provision." (Huffington Post, June 25, 2013)

  • Caroline Fredrickson, President of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, lamented the Supreme Court's decision, stating it showed disdain for our constitutionally protected right to vote. The she also stated the Court's ruling "effectively kills the Voting Rights Act's major enforcement provision... But five of the Court's justices have chosen to ignore the Constitution and Congress and substitute their own views for those granted the power in the Constitution." (American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, June 25, 2013)
  • Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund called the ruling an "act of extraordinary judicial overreach." She also said the decision "takes the most powerful tool our nation has to defend minority voting rights out of commission" and "has left millions of minority voters without the mechanism that has allowed them to stop voting discrimination before it occurs." (NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, June 25, 2013)

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July 8, 2013

Deidre Eason opines in the Virginian-Pilot, "Gov. Bob McDonnell's recent announcement that the commonwealth would restore the voting rights of nonviolent felons was great news. For years, many individuals have been excluded from the voting process, essentially told that they do not have the same rights afforded to other members of our society.... However, what Virginia really needs is a change to its constitution. The constitution of the commonwealth should guarantee that this practice of restoring voting rights remains in effect. While the policy change is a positive step, it is still merely a step in a very long climb."

Progressive Point: As the world's leading democracy, we cherish our voting system and want it to be free, fair, and equally accessible to everyone. Nonviolent offenders who have paid their debt to society and done their time deserve to fully rejoin our community and regain their right to vote. Restoring voting rights shouldn't be an election year issue, less you're political opportunist Ken Cuccinelli.

Even though Cuccinelli repeatedly opposed automatic restoration of voting rights while in the State Senate, now he's pretending he's always been a leader on this issue. It just goes to show that he is willing to put politics and ideology ahead of Virginia's best interests. Ken Cuccinelli repeatedly opposed restoring voting rights when it came to a vote. Virginians can't be so easily tricked by his pandering. What's worse than an extreme ideologue as Governor? A politician who'll say and do anything -- shamelessly pander, lie, and divide -- just to win an election.

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Get the Facts: Via the Democratic Party of Virginia:

2003: Cuccinelli Voted Against Constitutional Amendment Resolution Restoring Civil Rights For Nonviolent Felons

In January 2003, State Senator Yvonne Miller (D - 5) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 283 summarized as, "Authorizes the General Assembly to provide by law for the restoration of civil rights for persons who have been convicted of nonviolent felonies and who meet such other conditions or limitations as may be prescribed by law." Cuccinelli voted against agreeing to SJ 283 in the Senate. Resolution passed the Senate by 34-Y, 6-N. [Virginia Legislative Information System, SJ 2832/4/03]

2004: Cuccinelli Voted Against Constitutional Amendment Resolution Restoring Civil Rights For Nonviolent Felons

In January 2004, State Senator Yvonne Miller (D - 5) presented Senate Bill 17 summarized as, "Constitutional amendment (voter referendum); restoration of civil rights for certain felons. Provides for a referendum at the November 2004 election on approval of an amendment to revise provisions concerning restoration of civil rights. The amendment authorizes the General Assembly to provide by general law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies who meet the conditions prescribed by law. The present Constitution provides for restoration of rights by the Governor. The measure retains the right of the Governor to restore civil rights and adds the alternative for restoration of rights pursuant to general law for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies. This bill is identical to HB 1104. See also SJ 4, companion resolution. Cuccinelli voted against SB 17 in the Senate. Bill passed by 28-Y, 10-N. [Virginia Legislative Information System, SB 171/26/04]

2004: Cuccinelli Voted Against Restoration Of Voting Rights For Felons With Marijuana Convictions

In January 2004, State Senator Linda Puller (D - 36) introduced Senate Bill 82 summarized as, "Restoration of right to vote. Provides that a person convicted of a felony for the distribution of marijuana or possession with the intent to distribute marijuana where the amount of marijuana was five pounds or less, who completed his sentence at least 10 years previously and has no other criminal convictions can petition for restoration of his civil right to be eligible to vote. The existing Code requirement of the demonstration of civic responsibility through community or comparable service will apply. In addition, the applicant must go through the procedure established by the Governor, who will determine whether to grant the petition. Cuccinelli voted against SB 82 in the Senate. Bill passed Senate by 35-Y, 5-N. [Virginia Legislative Information System, SB 822/6/04]

2005: Cuccinelli Voted Against Constitutional Amendment Resolution Restoring Civil Rights For Nonviolent Felons

In January 2005, State Senator Yvonne Miller (D - 5) presented Senate Bill 259 summarized as, "Constitutional amendment (first resolution); restoration of civil rights for certain felons. Authorizes the General Assembly to provide by general law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies who meet the conditions prescribed by law. The present Constitution provides for restoration of rights by the Governor. The amendment retains the right of the Governor to restore civil rights and adds the alternative for restoration of rights pursuant to general law for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies. Cuccinelli voted against SB 259 in Senate.  Bill passed Senate 26-Y, 14-N. [Virginia Legislative Information System, SB 259,2/8/05]

2007: Cuccinelli Opposed Constitutional Amendment Resolution Restoring Civil Rights for Nonviolent Felons

In January 2007, Cuccinelli opposed a resolution sponsored by Sen. Yvonne Miller SJ 307 summarized as, "Authorizes the General Assembly to provide by general law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies who have completed service of their sentence including any period or condition of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. The present Constitution provides for restoration of rights by the Governor. The amendment retains the right of the Governor to restore civil rights and adds the alternative for restoration of rights pursuant to general law." The bill passed the Senate 29-10. [Virginia Legislative Information System, SJ 307, Vote on 1/25/07]  

2008: Cuccinelli Mocked "Jailbird Registration," Called Registering Nonviolent Felons "Ominous"

In an October 2008 edition of his Cuccinelli Compass, Cuccinelli wrote, "Well, in addition to our esteamed (yes, I know I spelled it wrong) Governor granting felons the right to vote at a record pace, here in Fairfax County our Democrat-run registrar's office went over to the local jail to register everyone there that they could last week, and they also pushed absentee voting among the lawless voters who hadn't yet been convicted of a felony...Even the Democrat Sheriff here said that he had never seen anything like it in his 30 years of service... click on the link to read about jailbird registration in Fairfax County. So, this is what they think they need to do to win?  And these are their voters?  What does that tell you? Don't forget the voter registration fraud by the Obama-associated groups in SE Va.  And a headline in the Washington Times today: "Voter-fraud task force raids Nevada office backing Obama." This is ominous folks..." [Cuccinelli Compass, 10/8/08]

2008: Cuccinelli Criticized Democrats For Trying "To Register As Many Criminals As Possible," Said Effort Was "Actually Worse than Just the Governor's Effort to Give Felons Voting Rights Again"

In an October edition of his Cuccinelli Compass, Cuccinelli wrote, "The other side sees criminals as a voting bloc that would be favorable to them, so they bent precedents to register as many criminals as possible before the Monday deadline. Here in Fairfax, it's actually worse than just the Governor's effort to give felons voting rights again..." [Cuccinelli Compass, 10/8/08]

2009: Cuccinelli Opposed Constitutional Amendment Resolution Restoring Civil Rights for Nonviolent Felons

In February 2009, Cuccinelli opposed a resolution sponsored by Sen. Yvonne Miller SJ 273 summarized as, "Authorizes the General Assembly to provide by law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies who have completed service of their sentences subject to the conditions, requirements, and definitions set forth in that law. The present Constitution provides for restoration of rights by the Governor. The amendment retains the right of the Governor to restore civil rights and adds the alternative for restoration of rights pursuant to law." The bill passed the Senate 27-13. [Virginia Legislative Information System,SJ 273, Vote on 2/9/09]

2010: Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Called on AG Cuccinelli to Act on Restoring Voting Rights to Nonviolent Felons--Cuccinelli Did Not Respond 

In April 2010, TendersInfo reported, "The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has written a letter to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) to ask why Virginia has not obtained preclearance under the federal Voting Rights Act to implement changes to the state's process to allow felons to get their voting rights restored...Robert Kengle, acting director of the committee's voting rights project, said the committee has not received a response. The attorney general's office did respond to a request for comment." [TendersInfo, 4/24/10]

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June 25, 2013

The Huffington Post reports, "The Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, the provision of the landmark civil rights law that designates which parts of the country must have changes to their voting laws cleared by the federal government or in federal court. The 5-4 ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, found that "things have changed dramatically" in the South nearly 50 years after the Voting Rights Act was signed."

Progressive Point: We have never solved anything in this county with less democracy and we shouldn't start now. But today, the Supreme Court removed an important safeguard for ensuring our elections remain free, fair, and accessible. In America, voters should choose their leaders, not the other way around. All voters should have an equal opportunity to have their say on Election Day.

As Virginia moves forward with new voting restrictions, we must ensure our Commonwealth continues to honor the spirit of the Voting Rights Act and protects Virginians' fundamental right to vote. Now, Congress must act immediately in an bipartisan fashion to update the Voting Rights Act to protect our access to the ballot box. When the voting rights of one American are threatened, so are all of our values as Americans.

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  • The Supreme Court ruled today that Congress, "'may draft another formula based on current conditions.' But given the current makeup of Congress, with Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, many voting rights advocates consider it unlikely that Congress would act to create a new formula. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a wide-ranging dissent on behalf of herself and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, justifying the continued vitality of the Voting Rights Act's preclearance provision." (Huffington Post, June 25, 2013)

  • "The Supreme Court's opinion in the Shelby County voting rights case is staggering and appalling in its disdain for the words and meaning of the Constitution - not to mention protection of the hallowed right to vote. The Court's invalidation of Section 4, which includes the formula for defining what states are covered by Section 5, effectively kills the Voting Rights Act's major enforcement provision. Both the 14th and 15th Amendments state clearly that 'Congress shall have the power to enforce' voting rights and equal protection. Time and time again Congress has done so by reaffirming overwhelmingly the Voting Rights Act, including Sections 4 and 5; the last vote was a combined 488-33 or 94 percent of Congress. But five of the Court's justices have chosen to ignore the Constitution and Congress and substitute their own views for those granted the power in the Constitution. For jurists who allege to support judicial restraint, it's hard to imagine a more activist (and disingenuous) decision than today's." (Caroline Fredrickson, President of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, June 25, 2013)

  • "The Supreme Court's decision today to strike down a key part of the Voting Rights Act is an act of extraordinary judicial overreach. The Supreme Court ruling takes the most powerful tool our nation has to defend minority voting rights out of commission. By second-guessing Congress' judgment about which places should be covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the Court has left millions of minority voters without the mechanism that has allowed them to stop voting discrimination before it occurs." (Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, June 25, 2013)
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June 25, 2013

ProgressVA today expressed disappointment with the United States Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder. The Court invalidated Section 4, which determines the formula by which some states are required to submit to federal Department of Justice oversight of voting changes. Virginia has been included in those preclearance states. Section 5 was not struck down, leaving the door open for Congress to revise the guidelines for supervision.

Statement from ProgressVA Executive Director Anna Scholl:

"Recent headlines noting the anniversaries of Danville's Bloody Monday and the death of Medger Evers make clear our violent and discriminatory history is never far away. We are disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision to remove an important element to ensuring our elections remain free, fair, and accessible. As Virginia moves forward with new voting restrictions, we look forward to working with the State Board of Elections to ensure the accompanying regulations and implementation continue to honor the spirit of the Voting Rights Act and protect Virginians' fundamental right to vote."

"This morning's decision opens the door for Congress to revise Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act to meet constitutional muster and ensure that every citizen's fundamental right to vote is defended. Now it the time for Congress to put aside petty, partisan squabbles and work together to update the Voting Rights Act. We have never solved anything in this county with less democracy and we shouldn't start now."

June 18, 2013

The Washington Post editorializes, "IN 2004, Arizona voters approved a measure demanding proof of citizenship from those who seek to register to vote in the state. On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled the measure invalid... The prospect of voter fraud should not be dismissed, but there is no evidence that it poses a practical problem. There is a far greater danger in limiting access to the ballot box, a sacrosanct right in America. Neither the states nor the federal government should be imposing new restrictions on the franchise."

Progressive Point: As the world's leading democracy, America cherishes its voting system that is designed to be free, fair, and equally accessible to everyone. Yesterday's Supreme Court decision affirms that legacy, but now is the time to do even more to promote participation in our elections. We must ensure that all U.S. citizens can register and vote without hassle or headache, while protecting its sanctity.

It's clear there are active efforts across the country to make it more difficult for many U.S. citizens to register and to vote. We must stand guard to ensure that all eligible voters' rights are protected. There is no question that some will continue to try to find ways around the language of this decision to challenge the right of some valid Virginians to vote. This case was about the right of all U.S. citizens to vote--not anyone else. In the days and months ahead, we all must continue to ensure that every U.S. citizen is able to enjoy our constitutionally protected right to vote.

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Get the Facts:

  • Yesterday, the Supreme Court decided Arizona v. ITCA and ruled that the federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993 preempts the proof-of-citizenship requirement included as part of Arizona's 2004 "measure demanding proof of citizenship from those who seek to register to vote in the state." (Washington Post, June 17, 2013)

  • New conservative legislation currently in the Virginia General Assembly would eliminate several currently valid forms of voter ID. If passed, it could subject Virginians to three new voter ID requirements in three years. (ProgressVA, February 5, 2013)

  • Just last year, "Virginia spent $2 million last year mailing new cards to all registered voters and educating Virginians about changes the 2012 General Assembly made to voting requirements." (Virginian-Pilot, February 13, 2013)

  • On Election Day last year some Fairfax voters were forced to wait until 10:30 PM, three and a half hours after the polls closed, to cast their votes. One possible cause may be partisan opposition to the approval of qualified poll workers. (Washington Post, November 14, 2012)

  • The new voter ID law passed in Virginia forced voters who did not bring one of the approved forms of ID to the poll to cast a provisional ballots that was only counted if they reported to their election office with an approved ID within three days of the election. (Virginian-Pilot, July 30, 2012)
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