The Virginia House of Delegates rejected Gov. Bob McDonnell’s amendment to the voter ID bill that would allow electoral board members to verify a voter’s identity by comparing the signature in a voter’s registration file with the signature on the provisional ballot.
According to the RTD, the bill that passed through the General Assembly would require voters who do not present ID at the polls to cast a provisional ballot. The voter would then later provide identification if they wanted the vote to be counted.
Under current law, those who go to vote without proper ID have to sign an affidavit swearing they are a registered voter in order to vote.
The RTD reported that the House also rejected McDonnell’s proposal to allow people more time to return with their ID but agreed with his recommendation to remove a provision that would allow voters without an ID to cast a regular ballot if a poll worker recognized them.
The voter ID measure has been a controversial measure from the start. With no real evidence of significant voter fraud in the state, some argue that the bill would disenfranchise students, minorities and elderly citizens—or those people most likely to be without identification.
* Virginia Senate Democrats voted unanimously to once again strike down the state’s spending plan Tuesday, but one senator almost strayed from the pack to give Republicans the one Democrat vote they needed to pass the budget.
Sen. Chuck Colgan, according to The Washington Examiner, surprised nearly everyone when he voted to defeat the very same budget he had supported in committee a few weeks earlier.
“When you’re down and out," Colgan told the Examiner, "you stick with your friends.”
Wednesday however, Republicans secured Colgan’s vote, although the Post reports that it’s unclear what, if anything, McDonnell promised Colgan in exchange for the key vote. Earlier in the day, Colgan had tried to get McDonnell to commit additional money to fund the Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport.
According to the
, the budget process hit another snag when a GOP senator had to leave because his wife was hospitalized.
* The Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Miller sent out a letter this week to the other members of the Senate insisting he did not hold up the state’s budget over a bill to expanding gambling.
"It has been alleged that the impasse was somehow connected to gaming," Miller wrote. "That is patently untrue."
According to the Sun, the day after the session ended Miller said that he and House Speaker Michael Busch agreed to get the gambling bill passed.
"When you reach an agreement, you’ve got the votes," Miller said at the time. "I don’t ever tell somebody that you are going to get the bill and I don’t have the votes. If somebody says 'I don’t think I have the votes,' then you don’t have an agreement."
* The Virginia Progressive Caucus asked their colleagues in the General Assembly Wednesday to stop using state money to send legislators to conferences hosted by a controversial conservative group—the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC—according to the Post.
The group has come under fire for pushing measures like the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida.
According to the Post, the state has spent more than $230,000 during the past decade to send legislators to ALEC-sponsored events.