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Editorial: So Hard to Imagine?

Poor families face challenges that officials and many of the rest of us have trouble envisioning.

The Commonwealth of Virginia and even Northern Virginia includes many poor families and individuals. But officials seem to have trouble wrapping their brains around some of the difficulties this can cause.

In Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria, some analysis of the effect of budget cuts and service cuts on families in the bottom 20 percent of income would be appropriate and revealing.

Cutting library hours and service again? Consider that for many, the public libraries are their only source of computer and internet access. This has a significant impact on school performance, the ability to hunt for a job, the ability to access services and more.

It's hard for many of us to imagine, checking email at stop lights on our smart phones, that there are families who need to go the library to check theirs. If anything, in the current environment, the libraries should be open more hours, not fewer.

When Fairfax County Public Schools eliminated the year-round school calendar, followed by some of the county's poorest schools, and summer school, poor students were most affected, losing access to meals in the summer as well as a needed boost in instruction.

Similarly, some schools systems eliminated the telephone hotline to find out if schools are closed in inclement weather. Everyone checks that online, right? Or gets their daily email update?

Requirements to present a variety of identification to do a variety of things also present bigger challenges to poorer residents.

Veto Voter ID Bill

Gov. Bob McDonnell should read the handwriting on the wall from the U.S. Justice Department about making it harder to vote.

More than 600,000 registered voters in Texas do not have the identification that the voter identification law would require, according to Tom Perez of the Justice Department, including a disproportionate number of minority voters, and more than 10 percent of Latino registered voters.

The analysis will reveal similar disparities in Virginia. The Governor can save Virginia money, time and trouble by vetoing the bill now.

Correction: Last week's editorial (http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2012/mar/06/editorial-reenacting-dark-history/) failed to correctly identify Del. Charniele Herring (D-46). The full editorial has been corrected online.