A law that requires Virginia citizens to show a photo identification when voting in elections will go on trial in Federal Court on Monday. According to defenders of the law, it serves to prevent voter fraud, while Democrats say that it discriminates minorities.
According to state election registers, the Virginia lawsuit says that approximately 197,000 voters did not have a driver’s license in the southeastern state by 2014. Of which just 4,117 had obtained a free voter photo ID card emitted by the state Elections Department, by May 2015, says CS Monitor.
Democrats and other activists say that the Virginia Board of Elections is discriminating poor people, minorities and younger voters who don’t need a driver’s license or a passport, while defenders of the law say that presenting a photo ID is a necessary measure to impede voter fraud.
The trial will occur in U.S. district court in Richmond, Va. Similar lawsuits have been done in other states. Last week the American Civil Liberties Union sued Kansas officials since people registering to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles are required to prove their citizenship.
The virginia lawsuit was issued by the Democratic Party of Virginia and two party activists, whose attorneys say that the photo ID law emitted by the Republican-dominated state legislature was designed to “to stall, if not reverse, the growing success of the Democratic Party in Virginia.”, as quoted by the CS Monitor.
An affected citizen
Josephine Okiakpe, a 69-year-old black woman from Virginia, said Monday that during the 2014 election in Virginia she had trouble with voting because she did not have a photo ID. According to The Washington Post (TWP), she could finally vote after she cried and drew people’s attention, but she lost part of her confidence in the Virginia’s voting system.
She had previously shown different identifications to workers in 2014, such as her birth certificate, Social Security card, voter registration card and a bank statement, but none of them were accepcted.
“They wouldn’t take any of that. I felt very frustrated, very upset,” she added.
On the other hand, a lawyer for state election officials said that the 2013 law is racially neutral and it serves to prevent voter fraud, while it improves public confidence in the elections process, according to The Associated Press and TWP.
Source: Christian Science Monitor