Republican Bolling sides with Democrats on voter ID measure

February 4, 2013

RICHMOND — Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling broke with his party again Monday by supporting a Democratic effort to delay tightening voter identification rules.

Bolling broke a 20-20 tie, on a preliminary vote, to amend a bill that would remove several forms of identification the state added last year to the list of IDs accepted at the polls. The measure returns to the floor Tuesday.

Bolling said in an interview afterward that he does not actually oppose the substance of the measure. He said he voted for a Democratic floor amendment that delays implementation until July 2014 simply to give voters more time to adjust to changes in the rules.

In fact, Bolling said he supports a Republican-sponsored bill, expected to come to the floor Tuesday, that would require voters to present photo identification. That bill has an effective date of July 2014.

“You can’t just keep changing the voter ID [requirements] every year,” Bolling said. “We need to pick a policy and stick with it.”

Last year, the General Assembly expanded the list of acceptable IDs to include such things as utility bills, paychecks and bank statements.

Republicans have sought to remove some of those items from the list. Some of the lawmakers have pointed to an undercover 2012 campaign video in which the son of Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) can be heard discussing possible voter fraud as proof that Virginia needs stricter voter identification requirements.

Last week, the office of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II closed its investigation into the matter, saying it would not charge the congressman’s son, Patrick Moran. Arlington police also said they would not be charging him.

Bolling, who is considering an independent bid for governor, came out in favor of expanding Virginia’s Medicaid program last week. With that move, he carved out a position that sets him apart from Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) and Cuccinelli, a Republican rival for governor.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.
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