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April 15, 2015

Richmond, VA –  Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia commended the General Assembly for sustaining Governor McAuliffe’s veto of HB 1318, a bill that would have added another barrier to the polls by requiring qualified, registered, and eligible absentee voters to provide proof of valid photo ID by mail.

“We thank the Governor and the General Assembly for their actions to prevent yet another bureaucratic and unfair layer to the Commonwealth’s voting laws,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga. “Virginia’s voter ID law has changed several times in recent years leading to widespread confusion and lack of uniformity in elections. This bill would have only resulted in more voter confusion and a greater number of disenfranchised Virginians.”

Under HB 1318, overseas active military members and their families and individuals with disabilities, illnesses, and pregnant women who are unable to go the polls on Election Day would have been excluded from the requirement of mailing in proof of valid photo ID. Nonetheless, low-income Virginians, rural voters, racial and ethnic minorities, students, and the elderly who rely on the absentee ballot by mail method may have been disenfranchised because they lack a valid, photo ID or have no access to a copier or scanner and would not have been excluded from the law.

“Virginia needs to implement election laws fairly and uniformly, and not create segregated special classes of voters where some benefit from reduced barriers to access and some don’t,” concluded Gastañaga.

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