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Letter: Increase Voter Access

To the Editor:

Virginia lawmakers are debating a bill right now that will create onerous obstacles for Virginia voters if passed. It will require all Virginia voters to provide a valid photo ID in order to vote to prevent voter fraud, a "problem" that is even less likely to affect a person than getting hit by lightning. This bill is similar to a law passed last year in South Carolina that was recently struck down by the U.S. Justice Department for violating the Voting Rights Act. Additionally, several other states that have passed photo ID legislation are facing mounting challenges to their laws – including mounting legal fees paid for by taxpayers.

While I respect lawmakers working to protect our election system in Virginia, I feel they are heading down the wrong track. Instead of focusing on legislation for a non-existent problem, they should move our elections into the 21st century. Lawmakers could modernize our voter registration system and allow online or automatic registration. They could also consider bills that would make voting more convenient such as allowing for early and no-excuse absentee voting.

These types of bills, instead of photo ID legislation, will increase access and participation in our elections, strengthening our democracy in Virginia.

LeRoynda Brooks

Alexandria