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Votes

Letter: Changes Ensure Ballot Integrity

To the Editor:

Ensuring the integrity of the ballot box is just as important as ensuring that everyone has access to the voting booth. And while hardly the strictest in the nation, Virginia’s new voter ID law allows for other forms of ID to be used if a driver’s license is not available on Election Day. Furthermore, a voter without a photo ID can still vote using a provisional ballot — and such ballots are available at every polling station. The idea that it’s racist to require identification is ridiculous since the same identification necessary to vote is also necessary to board a plane, cash a check, obtain a library card, purchase drain cleaner (in Chicago) or enter the Department of Justice building in Washington D.C. Last summer, a Democratic legislature enacted a voter-ID law in Rhode Island and a cosponsor of that legislation was state Senator Harold Metts, who is black. If requiring photo-ID is racist Del. Scott Surovell should immediately propose legislation to address what apparently is a pervasive and even an institutionalized problem throughout the Commonwealth. And Surovell should move quickly because every venue where a photo ID is required in Virginia is guilty of promoting racism. But I would suggest the real racism is in suggesting that certain groups are somehow incapable of acquiring the identification necessary to vote. Ensuring access to the ballot box is just as important as protecting the integrity of that process. The legitimacy of our representative government is jeopardized if that process is compromised by fraud. Virginia’s new voter ID law is a reasonable effort at ensuring the integrity of the results in November.

Thomas M. Beattie

Mount Vernon