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U.S. Supreme Court Opens Path for Voter ID Law in VA

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PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court's decision that halts enforcement of part of the Voting Rights Act is expected to affect voting policies in Virginia. Courtesy of ProgressVA.
PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court's decision that halts enforcement of part of the Voting Rights Act is expected to affect voting policies in Virginia. Courtesy of ProgressVA.
June 26, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. - The U-S Supreme Court's decision to strike down part of the Voting Rights act opens a path for Virginia's photo voter ID law to go into effect without Washington's approval.

The decision means the state's ID requirement, passed by the General Assembly this year, will not need to get pre-clearance from the Justice Department before it goes into effect, said Anna Scholl, executive director of the civil rights group Progress VA.

"The Supreme Court has sort of said that they think the era of threats to voting rights are really over," she said, "and we would strenuously disagree with that assessment."

Barriers to the ballot box may not look like they did in the 1950s, Scholl said, but they still exist - in Virginia and across the nation.

"We've seen real efforts to make it harder for people to vote," she said, "particularly low-income citizens, seniors and communities of color."

Scholl said she hopes the state Board of Elections will continue to uphold the principles of the Voting Rights Act, despite the Supreme Court's decision. Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a statement after the court's decision saying he's committed to protecting voting rights.

Alison Burns reporting.

Anna Scholl: 540-460-1269.

Alison Burns, Public News Service - VA