NAACP Leader Approves of Virginia’s Voter ID Law Being Cleared

Benjamin Jealous said that the Virginia law is not as restrictive as other voter ID laws that have been passed in various states.

Posted: 08/30/2012 10:31 AM EDT
NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said that the Virginia voter ID law that was pre-cleared by the Department of Justice was far more reasonable in its impact on Black and Latino voters. 

“While there is no reason for the voter ID law beyond politics, it is much, much more reasonable than the laws that have been passed in other states,” said Jealous in an interview with

“It has a broader range of forms of identification that it allows people to produce,” Jealous said. “That makes it far less offensive than what’s going on in other states.”

The voter identification law in Virginia allows several forms of identification — including valid Virginia voter registration cards, Social Security cards, student identification cards and employee cards as well as utility bills. 

The law included provisions added in an executive order signed by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. In the executive order, the State Board of Elections was also charged with issuing voter cards to all Virginia voters and launching a public education campaign.

Jealous said that McDonnell had committed himself to not support any strongly restrictive voter identification law.

Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington bureau and senior vice president for advocacy at the NAACP, said that the organization supports the use of some identification documents. However, Shelton said, “there are dozens of ways to identify oneself that will not require a person to spend their resources and time to obtain overly restrictive and a conforming photo ID, and Virginia took some strides to eliminate the risks.” 


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(Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for NAACP)

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