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Bryce Reeves' op-ed about voter ID laws
Voters stood in line in Stafford County in 2008 to exercise their right to vote. Protecting the integrity of elections is the goal of Voter ID laws.
PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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THESE ARE difficult times for those who oppose laws requiring voters to produce some form of identification at the polls. ACLU Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis' recent op-ed ["Virginia looks for new ways to disenfranchise," May 1] illustrates just how difficult.
For several years now, those opposed to any measures to prevent voter fraud have restricted their arguments to one oft-repeated assertion: Voter fraud does not exist. Instead, opponents like Willis claim that the true aim of those advocating voter ID laws is to disenfranchise voters.
Claims that voter fraud does not exist were never valid. Recent news that the Virginia State Police have investigated hundreds of incidents related to the 2008 election and that indictments have been issued in the most serious cases have demonstrated that voter fraud does indeed exist.
Those opposed to sensible reforms protecting the integrity of the ballot box were dealt a similar setback when the Pew Center issued its report in February that 24 million voter registrations are either invalid or inaccurate, with nearly 2 million dead people currently registered to vote.
Not to be confused by the facts, Willis has now adopted a new argument. Now, he asserts that although voter fraud does exist, voter ID laws will not solve the problem. In Willis' view, voter fraud cannot be combated, and government should not bother to attempt to do so. Once again, Willis' main assertion is that those supporting voter ID laws want to disenfranchise large segments of the electorate.
As someone who knows firsthand the value of every single vote, I can tell you that disenfranchising voters is the last thing I had on my mind when I voted to ensure ballot integrity. To the contrary, my goal--and that of my colleagues who support voter ID legislation--is to ensure the vote of every Virginian is protected and valid. Voter fraud undermines that.
In 2005, the Virginia State Board of Elections reprimanded Project Vote for registering people with Social Security numbers that existed for other people, providing inaccurate and commercial addresses, and registering convicted felons. ACORN likewise was reprimanded for altering voter registration forms in violation of the Virginia Code.