Mark Obenshain: Photo ID is under attack
On Friday, a motion to intervene was filed on my behalf asking a United States District Court to add me as a defendant in litigation filed by Democrats challenging the constitutionality of Virginia’s voter identification law. If granted, this will permit me, and others, to actively participate in the defense of the lawsuit and Virginia’s voter ID law. The motion to intervene also lists electoral board members, general registrars, and other registered voters across the Commonwealth as intervenors in the suit. I look forward to defending this law in court.
Voter ID laws have recently come under a politically partisan and coordinated nationwide legal attack by Democrats. In Virginia, two Democratic voters and the Democratic Party of Virginia filed suit in June seeking to overturn Virginia’s voter ID law, which requires voters to show a photo ID before voting. They are represented by Marc Elias, who currently serves as general counsel for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and as personal counsel to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring in the 2013 recount. The New York Times recently reported that liberal benefactor and billionaire George Soros is funding these lawsuits in Republican-leaning states.
This motion is necessary and important because Virginians have no confidence that Attorney General Mark Herring will zealously defend this assault on Virginia law. This Attorney General voted against the bill when he was in the Senate and since his election as Attorney General he has expressed his opinion that the voter ID law is “unconstitutional.”
In 2013, I was the chief sponsor of SB 1256, which was passed and signed into law by the Governor. The law requires every voter to show photo identification when casting a ballot in person. A wide array of permissible photo ID cards are accepted. The law allows individuals who do not currently possess a photo ID to obtain one free of charge through local registrars’ offices.
This is a law with bipartisan roots, arising from the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform as part of a larger effort to restore the fragile public confidence in the integrity and fairness of our elections in America. We’re talking about a law that’s backed by 70% of Americans and supported by every demographic group. It even enjoys 60% approval among Democrats.
Photo ID is a commonsense way to give voters confidence that every legitimate vote will be counted and that nobody’s vote will be canceled out or diluted by voter fraud. Free, open and fair elections are one of the defining features of our system of government, and it’s worth the effort to ensure voters have confidence in our electoral process.
To view a copy of this motion, click here.
Mark Obenshain is a member of the Virginia State Senate.