Our country is at a tipping point. The voices of the oppressed are crying out after being ignored, abused, and brutalized. We may not have it as bad as our grandparents, but we know this life is nowhere near what it could be and we won’t stop until it is. That’s why it is so important to bring our community together and celebrate every win. This past General Assembly session, activists finally succeeded in advancing legislation to get rid of the racist voter ID law in Virginia. On July 1st, we rid ourselves and our fellow Virginians of this divisive law.
Everyone who wants to vote in our elections should have the opportunity to do so. Conservatives fought us tooth and nail, but in the end, love and progress won the day. We worked hard to repeal the photo ID requirement and finally succeeded. Though we have a lot more work to do to ensure that everyone in our community has an equal voice in our democracy, repealing photo ID requirements was an important step in the right direction.
In 2012, conservative politicians in Richmond passed a law that required every voter to present a specific kind of photo ID in order to vote. Photo ID laws are designed to keep people of color, students, and seniors from voting. Eleven percent of Americans—approximately 23 million citizens of voting age—lack a proper photo ID and, as a result, could be turned away from the polls on Election Day under restrictive photo ID laws.
Photo ID laws also cost millions of dollars. The state must provide identification to every eligible voter at a major cost and workload to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Elections and other state agencies. It doesn’t make sense to waste money on things we don’t need that make it harder for people to make their voices heard in our elections.
Now I’m sure all of you know that we have a critical election this year. Do the right thing by pledging to vote for candidates who support racial justice on November 3. Then sign up for our email list to stay informed about how you can take the movement to Richmond, the Governor’s mansion, and beyond!
Check out our other bills highlighted in Progress Virginia’s Christmas in July: