Testimony Ends Inconclusively in Virginia Voter ID Trial

Experts unable to say if law meant to hurt minority voters

voter ID

An election official checks a voter's photo identification at an early voting polling site / AP


Testimony in the Virginia voter identification trial came to a close with social scientists not being able to definitively say that the voter ID law, which requires voters to show photo identification at the polls before being able to cast a vote, was implemented with intent to hurt minority voters, as opponents of the law have argued.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:

Social scientists testified for the defense Wednesday in the last day of a trial over the state’s voter identification law, attesting that they could not definitively say that the law was intended to blunt the influence of minority voters.

A lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party of Virginia and two voters contends that the law that went into effect in 2013 was enacted by the Republican-controlled state legislature to suppress votes from minorities and youth who are more likely than other voters to support Democrats and tend to be less likely to have a valid photo ID.

In addition, on March 1, former election officials who testified before the court said that they were not aware of any circumstances involving potential voters having trouble casting a ballot in Virginia since the time the law was enacted.

A separate article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch writes:

Several former state and local election officials testified Tuesday that they were not aware of any eligible voter who has been denied the right to cast a ballot because of Virginia’s photo voter ID requirement enacted in 2013.

“None,” said Cameron Quinn, a former state elections official who from 2011 until last year was the general registrar for Fairfax County, testifying in the sixth day of a trial before U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson in a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party of Virginia and two voters challenging the state law. Fairfax is the state’s largest jurisdiction and has 700,000 registered voters.

Justin Riemer, a former member of the Virginia State Board of Elections and Donald Palmer, the former secretary of the board, also testified Tuesday that they were not aware of anyone unable to vote because of the photo requirement.

Palmer knew there were some provisional ballots cast by voters who showed up at the polls that were not ultimately counted either because the voter did not or could not take the follow-up steps — provisional ballots are counted once the voter faxes, emails or presents valid photo ID to the registrar’s office or goes there to obtain free voter ID by noon of the Friday after the election.

At the conclusion of the testimony, the judge ordered lawyers from both sides to file memoranda in place of making closing arguments by March 25. Rebuttals are due one week after the memoranda.

The Virginia lawsuit challenging the states voter ID laws was initially brought forth by Marc Elias, the top lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Elias has since filed similar lawsuits in a number of other states that has been backed by money from liberal billionaire George Soros.

Elias filed the lawsuits independently of the Clinton campaign through his capacity as a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm, although the Clinton campaign has publicly backed the multi-state effort.

Joe Schoffstall   Email Joe | Full Bio | RSS
Joe Schoffstall is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Previously, he spent three years with the Media Research Center and was most recently with the Capitol City Project. He can be reached at Schoffstall@freebeacon.com. His Twitter handle is @JoeSchoffstall.

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