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Votes

Letter: Misrepresentation in ‘Voter Identification’

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Jack Kenny’s column ["Voter Identification," Reston Connection, May 9-15, 2012] is so full of untruths that it would require more space than is available here to refute them all.

Contrary to Mr. Kenny’s misrepresentation, the only irregularity in Fairfax’s recent elections has been the disfranchisement of 5-10 percent of the voters whose mailed-in absentee ballots were wrongfully rejected based on their inability to follow Virginia’s unique and complicated instructions. Your neighbors among Fairfax Democrats observed these rejections, as is their right under State law, and informed those disenfranchised voters of the wrongful rejections on Election Day. In most cases, these disenfranchised voters were new voters; those voting by mailed-in absentee ballot for the first time; or the elderly, traditionally Democratic voters. Some tried to cast provisional ballots. Those attempts by registered voters to exercise their right to vote were again denied by the Republican-controlled Fairfax Electoral Board on a 2-1 party line vote after a secret meeting.

Sadly, the Republican-controlled General Assembly, including Fairfax Republican Delegates Hugo, Rust, Albo, Le Munyon and Comstock and the Republican controlled State Electoral Board have repeatedly refused to simplify the mailed-in absentee voting process and conform it to the process mandated by Federal law for overseas voters.

The 400 cases referenced by Mr. Kenny overwhelmingly represent citizens who have felony convictions and attempted to register or vote. In 48 other states, those citizens’ right to vote would have been automatically restored upon completion of their punishment. Not in Virginia, where a Governor’s action is required to restore voting rights. A reckless driving conviction can cost you your right to vote. So can a conviction for graffiti.

While eye-catching, the Holder incident cited was a total fabrication by convicted criminal James O’Keefe who has engaged in repeated right-wing hoaxes.

As voting rights hero, Rep. John Lewis, reminded Paul Ryan on the floor of Congress last week, Lewis’s friends and colleagues died in this country to secure the right to vote. It is shameful that the party of Lincoln has determined that it can only win elections by depriving our fellow citizens of their inalienable right to vote. Fairfax Democrats are committed to protecting your right to vote.

We encourage every voter to vote early by in-person absentee ballot this Fall. There are 16 different reasons that will enable you to vote early and in person. One of them will apply to almost every voter in Fairfax. For information see http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/absentee.htm#inperson

A long list of identification documents may be used to vote in this fall but a photo id, contrary to Mr. Kenny’s claim, is not mandatory.

Cesar Del Aguila, Chair

Fairfax County Democrats