Voter Suppression Bill Passes VA Senate – Goes to House of Delegates

SB 523, A bill requiring that polling locations have photographs of registered voters, has passed the Virginia Senate and has moved to the House.

The text of the bill is:

SB 523 (Obenshain) Voter identification; electronic pollbooks to contain photographs of voters. Requires electronic pollbooks to contain the photographs of registered voters that are obtained by the general registrars in the production of voter photo identification cards or contained in a voter’s Department of Motor Vehicles record. The bill also provides that if the electronic pollbook contains the voter’s photograph, the officer of election is required to access that photograph and the voter is not required to present one of the statutorily required forms of identification. The bill prohibits lists of voters furnished pursuant to current law from containing any voter’s photograph. The bill has a delayed effective date of July 1, 2019.

This extra requirement will slow down the voting process, possibly extending waits at voting lines, and will create a new step in which errors might be introduced.

Of course, this won’t be free. The following is from the Fiscal Impact Statement (pdf)

… the Department of Elections (ELECT) would have to make several changes to the Virginia Election and Registration Information System (VERIS)

create and accept the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) data, associate it to voters, and then extract and distribute the photos to 133 localities prior to each election.

download updated pictures from DMV’s servers at least twice a year (prior to the statewide elections), which is estimated to cost $41,780 annually ($20,890 for each download).

additional costs for storage of the photographic images on the state’s computer systems, which has an estimated annual cost of $64,680.

localities would have to replace existing electronic pollbooks that do not have the capacity to store and display photographs.

The legislation requires ELECT to enter into an agreement with DMV’s credentials vendor to obtain the photographs. DMV notes that the images will have to be accompanied by a customer number and Social Security Number so that the Department of Elections can match an image to a voter’s record. The DMV estimates the information technology costs for changes to the DMV database to implement the provisions of this bill to be a one-time cost of $34,679.

Please activate and organize by having others email their Delegates/Senators and local County Board of Supervisors to let them know that the Board should oppose this legislation.

This is voter suppression and valid ID should be sufficient enough to vote.