Senate Republicans defeat bills to make voting easier

constitutionTuesday afternoon, the Republican-controlled Senate Privileges & Elections Committee defeated several Democratic bills to make voting easier.

Sen. Janet Howell’s (D – Reston) SB 677, which would have instituted early voting in Virginia, failed in a party-line vote of 8-7. Republicans also defeated bills that would have made photo IDs issued by private high schools (Sen. George Barker’s (D – Fairfax) SB 820) and resident photo IDs issued by care-providing institutions like nursing homes (Sen. Jennifer Wexton’s (D – Loudoun) SB 922) into acceptable forms of voter ID.

In response, Senate Democrats made the following statements:

Said Sen. Howell, “Our democracy works best when every voice has a chance to be heard. My bill would have removed barriers to voting, making it easier for all Virginians to participate. I am deeply disappointed that Republicans chose not to pursue that goal today.”

Said Sen. Wexton, “If nursing home employees’ photo IDs are accepted at the polls, residents’ photo IDs should be acceptable, as well. If public school student photo IDs are acceptable, private school photo IDs should also count. Many of our current rules are arbitrary — and by failing to change those rules, we silence voices that deserve to be heard.”

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