Gov. Bob McDonnell should veto the voter ID bill that made its way through the Virignia legislature along party lines, The Washington Post Editorial Board advised.
The voter ID bill requires Virginia voters who show up to the polls without an ID to cast a provisional ballot. Under current law, voters without an ID must sign an affidavit swearing they are a registered voter and then are able to cast a regular ballot.
The editorial board writes that for the second time in three months, the Obama administration has blocked a state law pushed by Republicans that, “using the pretext of a nearly nonexistent problem of voting fraud, discriminates against minority voters by establishing more stringent voter ID laws"
Theeditorial warns Gov. McDonnell that Virginia’s law could be the next to be blocked.
Now Mr. McDonnell, his reputation for sensible governance already tarnished by the recent debate over pre-abortion ultrasounds, has a decision to make. Along purely partisan lines, his fellow Virginia Republicans have rammed through a voter ID law only slightly less obnoxious than the ones embraced by Texas and South Carolina. Mr. McDonnell, who has so far remained noncommittal on the measure, should veto it.
The Virginia legislation — a solution in search of a problem — is purely political, designed to give Republicans an edge in a swing state ahead of the fall elections by making voting more difficult for minorities, the elderly and youths — groups that tend disproportionately to lack IDs and to vote for Democrats. And Virginia Republicans barely pretend otherwise.
* A super PAC for Republican Senate candidate George Allen has just been launched.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Paul Bennecke, the former political director of the Republican Governors Association, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to create Independence Virginia PAC.
Bennecke told the RTD Monday that he plans to raise between $2 million and $3 million for Allen, a former governor and Virginia senator.
Allen will likely face Tim Kaine, who is also a former governor of Virginia. Kaine’s campaign already has deeper pockets than Allen’s with $3.3 million at the beginning of the year, compared to Allen’s $2.2 million.
* With the D.C. primaries just weeks away, the latest campaign finance reports provide an interesting look at where the candidates stand in the pending elections.
Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bower has a whopping $217,000 left to spend.
In the at-large race Councilmember Vincent Orange has $114,000, more than double than any of his opponents currently have in their pockets.
* Maryland lawmakers rejected an amendment Monday night to freeze judge salaries at their current range of $127,00 to $181,000. A final vote on raises of up to $14,500 over three years is expected Tuesday, according to The Maryland Reporter.
The House is under a tight deadline to approve this Senate bill that cuts the raises in half from the original proposal.
* Marking the second anniversary of the federal health care act, President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign is highlighting the act’s provisions across key battleground states.
The health care campaign will be in Virginia, explaining to residents how they’ve benefited from health care reform, the RTD reports.
The very same day Obama signed the health care law two years ago, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the individual-mandate provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The suit is still in limbo.
* Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland is airing his first series of television ads Tuesday.
The first ad, which is scheduled to run in Baltimore and some Washington suburbs, highlights Cardin’s effort to guarantee dental benefits for patients covered under the federal Children’s Health Insurance program.
Cardin is the heavy frontrunner in his primary race against state Sen. C. Anthony Muse and seven other Democrats.
* The Maryland Senate gave preliminary approval to a law that would ban Maryland residents from smoking in a vehicle with a passenger younger than 8 in it.
Senators shot down amendments to the bill that would have made a violation of the law a secondary rather than a primary offense and another that would have prohibited a child from riding in a vehicle where someone had ever smoked.
* Gov. McDonnell said that he would continue to look for transportation funding despite the failure of legislators to find millions of dollars to fix state roads, The Washington Post reports.
The governor is holding out hope that legislators will put some money toward transportation in the state’s budget when they return later this month for a special session to pass the two-year budget. Even if they don’t, he said he would have additional proposals next year.