Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling sided with Democrats Monday and cast a tiebreaker vote in favor of a Democratic-proposed amendment that would delay the enactment of a strict voter-ID law for a year in Virginia.
This is Bolling’s first tiebreaker vote in a Senate evenly split along party lines since he dropped out of the gubernatorial race and has publicly mulled an independent bid for the state’s top post.
The original Republican-proposed bill would have tightened voter ID requirements by removing bank statements, checks and utility bills from the list of documents that can be accepted at the polls.
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The Democrat amendment to this legislation -- of which Bolling voted in favor -- would delay the enactment of the voter ID requirements until 2014, citing concerns that not enough funds have been allocated to educate voters on the changes.
This means the new voter ID law will not be in place for the 2013 gubernatorial election.
In 2012, Bolling sided with his fellow Republicans and cast a tiebreaking vote in favor of legislation that would force voters who come to the polls without identification to cast a provisional ballot.
Late Monday, Bolling issued a statement explaining his decision to side with Democrats this time around.
I think it is a reasonable effort to tighten voter identification requirements and assure greater integrity in the voting process. However, we just changed Virginia’s voter ID requirements in 2012, and we cannot change these requirements every year. I am concerned that this would create unnecessary confusion among voters about what forms of ID are required at the polls. As such, I have been clear throughout this year’s legislative session that I do not believe that any additional changes to our voter ID requirements should be made this year.
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