Inquiring minds ought to ask

Published 8:13 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Last week, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced he was vetoing a simple bill that would require that someone voting absentee show a photo identification. This is the same requirement that is expected of you and I when we go to the polls. Why would he choose to veto such simple good government legislation?

If we truly believe that our elections are to be free and fair, then we must take every possible step to make sure that we encourage citizens to vote, and we must take those steps necessary that only those who are qualified are allowed to cast a ballot. We must also be diligent that no one casts more than one vote or manipulates the system to steal another’s vote.

This past fall, a student who was paid to register voters was caught fictitiously registering names. Some of those he registered had been dead for years. Exactly how hard would it have been for that student to then request an absentee ballot and vote by mail? With a photo ID, it would have been much more difficult.

Earlier this year, it was reported that eight Virginia cities and counties had more registered voters than voter-aged citizens. There was legislation that simply would have required these jurisdictions to research how this could possibly be. My guess is that those registrars had simply not been diligent in removing those who had died or moved away. Not removing those who have moved or died makes those cities and counties a target of those who want to dishonestly change an election.

For those who believe that could not happen in our area, consider these examples of what has happened right around us.

Several years ago, it was brought to my attention that a non-citizen in the country on a work visa had been sent a new voter card. He had never voted but had gotten a Virginia driver’s license several years earlier. In that process, unknown to him of what he was doing, he signed on a line requesting to register to vote. He had never voted, but because of the federal requirement that the state does all it can to register folks, he could have illegally.

In another situation in a neighboring location, before photo IDs were required to vote, a man was blatantly showing off having two voter cards. When he was showing them around someone noted that the address was identical but the names were different.

In a third situation, again before photo IDs were required, I was at the poll observing the voting. One person came in and voted and a check mark was placed by a name. A couple of hours later, another lady, with the same last name and same first letter in the first name came to vote. She was informed that she had previously voted either in person or by absentee. I knew this lady and was sure she had not been there earlier. After some delay, it was determined she had not voted absentee. She was allowed to vote by checking off the other name.

These are all reasons why I supported the legislation that photo IDs should be required to vote. It should make you concerned that McAuliffe does not.

Frank Ruff represents Lunenburg in the state Senate. His email address is