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Voter ID bill in McDonnell’s hands

Virginia Democrats are urging Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) to veto a pair of voter ID bills after the General Assembly this week stripped out a provision the governor had added to make the measures less stringent.

A crowd gathers around a voting booth at the polling place in Westminster Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Ill. (David Zalaznik/AP)

As originally passed, the bills required voters to present identification but also expanded the types of acceptable forms to include such things as utility bills, bank statements and four-year college IDs. Those who come to the polls without identification would have to cast provisional ballots, which would only be counted if the voter later returned with ID or sent a copy electronically.

McDonnell amended the bills to add any college identification, including two-year schools. The House and Senate signed off on that change when it reconvened this week to pass a budget and consider McDonnell’s seven vetoes and amendments he made to more than 100 bills.

But the General Assembly balked at another change McDonnell had proposed for the bills. Under that amendment, a vote cast without ID would get counted if the signature on the provisional ballot matched the one on the voter’s registration record.

It would fall to local elections officials to compare the signatures, and some have expressed concern since they do not have expertise in handwriting analysis. So the General Assembly rejected that amendment.

McDonnell can either sign the bills without that provision or veto them. They cannot be further amended.

“The governor will review the legislation in the days ahead,” McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.

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