McAuliffe Vetoes Voter ID Bill

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) announced he would be vetoing House Bill 1428, a bill which would require Virginia voters requesting absentee ballots to submit a copy of an acceptable form of ID as defined by state law. The bill – introduced by Del. Hyland F. Fowler Jr. (R-Hanover) would exempt military personnel, overseas voters, and people with disabilities from the requirement.

From McAuliffe’s statement announcing the veto:

This bill remains substantively unchanged from a bill that I vetoed in 2015. The bill imposes barriers on an eligible voter’s ability to obtain and cast an absentee ballot. The requirement would not in any way deter fraudulent voting since it provides no means of verifying the identity of the individual depicted in the submitted photograph.

The right to vote is a fundamental tenet of our democracy, and we should be doing all we can to facilitate eligible citizens’ access to the ballot. This bill would undoubtedly result in the disenfranchisement of qualified eligible Virginian voters and increase the potential for costly and time-consuming litigation.

The context for this bill is the upcoming Virginia statewide elections scheduled for November. (According to Blue Virginia, Del. Fowler is currently running for reelection unopposed.) The exemptions offered by the Fowler bill would be significant, because many military and government personnel are based in Virginia (the Washington DC suburbs, or one of the many military bases in the region) or assigned overseas.  The bill passed on largely party-line votes in House and Senate. Unless Republicans in both chambers of the legislature can come up with two-thirds supermajorities, McAuliffe’s veto will stand.

Four Governors Endorse Perez for DNC Chair

Tom Perez’s campaign for Democratic National Committee chairman announced four big gets today: governors John Hickenlooper (Colorado), John Bel Edwards (Louisiana), Gina Raimondo (Rhode Island) and Terry McAuliffe (Virginia).

CNN’s Marshall Cohen points out the significance of the endorsements:

Some context: Two of those states (Colorado and Virginia) are considered swing states but have been Democratic success stories over the course of the past decade in statewide and presidential elections. Rhode Island is in reliably Democratic New England. Louisiana – which has elected statewide Democrats in the past but has turned more Republican in recent years – is probably the most surprising endorsement of the bunch. Democrat Foster Campbell just lost the run-off race for the Louisiana Senate seat a few weeks ago.