To the Editor:
A few weeks ago I received my new Voter Card from the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was dated March 30, 2012. There were two facts of great interest to me:
The voting location for my Chesterbook (302) precinct has moved from Arleigh Burke Pavilion to St Dunstan's Episcopal Church another half mile southwest on Kirby Road. This is due to the construction of 75 new apartment homes and a new community center at Vinson Hall, which should be completed in three years.
Although our Republican governor expanded the acceptable forms of Voter ID, I really don't like unnecessary barriers to voting. For the June 12 primary election, if a voter jogging/biking by her voting location wants to jump in line to vote, but doesn't have any ID, no problem. Assuming the pollbook officer finds her name in the electronic pollbook, all she has to do is sign an "Affirmation of Identity" which will be provided by the chief election officer.
However, under the same circumstances for the Nov. 6 general election, she will have to stand in line to get to the pollbook officer and then stand in another line to cast a provisional ballot. She will then need to visit the Government Center with the proper ID to show that she is a real voter. I predict an increase in provisional ballots cast Nov. 6 and an increase in what I'll call "unconsummated provisional ballots" - voters who cast a provisional ballot but failed to validate their ballot in person after the election.
There are two other issues that trouble me: 1) Valid student ID is only acceptable if it is issued by a Virginia institution of higher learning; and, 2) Senior citizens who live in retirement communities might be at a disadvantage when it comes to acceptable forms of ID. Of course, college students and senior citizens with disabilities (actually, anyone with a disability) may want to take advantage of either in-person or mail-in absentee voting. Check http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/absentee.htm for details.
Del. Barbara Comstock voted in favor of this potentially disenfranchising expansion of the provisional ballot known formally as "HB 9, Voting procedures; voter identification requirements, provisional ballots."
The second fact is that I now vote in the 8th congressional district! Why the exclamation point? Jim Moran now represents voters in all of the Dranesville District precincts whose boundaries are completely within the area south of Route 123 (excludes Chain Bridge and McLean precincts). This means that for the first time since moving to Virginia almost twelve years ago, I may cast a vote for a congressman who shares most of my values, in particular order: (Source is ontheissues.org)
*100 percent rating by NARAL Pro-Choice America: Check!
*92 percent rating by NAACP: Check!
*100 percent rating by HRC (Human Rights Campaign; pro-LBGT): Check!
*82 percent rating by AU (Americans United for Separation of Church & State): Check!
*Rated "F" by the National Rifle Association: Check!
*Rated 100 percent by the American Public Health Association: Check!
*Rated 100 percent by Alliance for Retired Americans: Check!
*Rated 95 percent by the League of Conservation Voters: Check!
*Rated 100 percent by the Campaign for America's Future (energy independence): Check!
*Rated 100 percent by Citizens for Tax Justice (progressive taxation): Check!
Jim Moran co-sponsored the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act which was in response to President Obama's 2012 State of the Union call for legislation banning insider trading by Members of Congress and their staff. President Obama signed the STOCK Act into law on April 4.
Jim Moran sponsored the Government Shutdown Fairness Act which "Prohibits Members of Congress and the President from receiving basic pay for any period in which: (1) there is more than a 24-hour lapse in appropriations for any federal agency or department as a result of a failure to enact a regular appropriations bill or continuing resolution, or (2) the federal government is unable to make payments or meet obligations because the public debt limit has been reached."
June 12 is the 8th congressional district Democratic primary. I'm going to do something I haven't done in years. I'm going to vote for a congressman who shares my values: Jim Moran!