During the General Assembly debates over voter ID legislation, Del. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) got his dose of exercise by leaping to his feet to charge that there has never been an instance of voter fraud in Virginia, that this was a solution in search of a problem, etc. This was actually quite tame stuff compared to the charges of other (Democratic) members who warned that voter ID laws would usher in a return of Jim Crow, massive resistance and a parade of other horribles.
All of which this makes this item in the Richmond Times-Dispatch all the more entertaining:
A Richmond grand jury on Monday indicted 10 convicted felons on charges of election fraud for allegedly lying on voter registration forms during the 2008 presidential election campaign. ...
Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring said ... said each of those indicted spoke with a solicitor who was trying to get people to register to vote. In most cases, the person told the solicitor that he or she was a felon, and some of those indicted told a solicitor they therefore could not vote.
Herring said the solicitors told each person they could vote, which wasn’t true. In some cases, Herring said, a solicitor told the felon that new legislation had restored the felon’s right to vote or that if he or she was going through a process to have voting rights restored, he or she could vote.
To be fair, the voter ID law would not have stopped this, or even come close to stopping it. And if the allegations are true, the additional, unknown culprits were the solicitors who registered these folks to vote. They remain at large.
But we can put partial paid to the argument that Virginia has never been touched by voter fraud, and that attempts to add more protections to the vote are just thinly veiled racism.
Norman Leahy blogs at Bearing Drift. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.