On Friday, February 19th the WV House of Delegates passed HB 4013, which would require voters to provide photo identification when voting and suppress voter turnout. HB 4013 has since been waiting to be on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s agenda, and it looks like today is the day they’ll be taking up this bad piece of legislation.
In the 2014 election, only 37% of West Virginia voters cast ballots – the lowest turnout in at least six decades. In 2012, the state ranked 50th in the nation, the only state where less than half of eligible voters went to the polls. With such dismal turnout, this is no time to enact measures that risk further suppressing the vote – especially the vote of seniors, people of color, low-income voters, and students – populations that are less likely to possess government issued photo identification. (See more on this from John Oliver here; viewer discretion advised!)
Voter fraud, and more specifically, voter impersonation, is virtually nonexistent. During the debate in the House, supporters of the bill acknowledged that there are no documented cases in West Virginia of the type of fraud the voter ID bill would address.
HB 4013 is a “solution looking for a problem.”