Delegate Bob Marshall, usually a reliable defender of the rule of law, has a curious substitute to HB 2509 coming before the House of Delegates for a third reading today. The substitute grants amnesty to any person ineligible to vote who has voted in a previous election, this shielding illegal aliens and other unauthorized voters from prosecution when they break the law. I have to say I’m pretty surprised.
Some of his constituents might want to ask him about this.
HOUSE BILL NO. 2509
AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
(Proposed by the House Committee on Privileges and Elections
on February 6, 2009)
(Patron Prior to Substitute–Delegate Marshall, R.G.)
A BILL to amend and reenact §§ 24.2-418, 24.2-643, 24.2-701, and 24.2-706 of the Code of Virginia and to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 24.2-623.1, relating to elections; voter integrity and identification provisions, including posting notices of voting qualifications and penalties at polling places; voter registration applications and proof of citizenship; and in-person and absentee voting procedures and identification requirements.
B. The general registrar shall reject any application for registration that is not accompanied by one of the proofs of citizenship enumerated in subsection A.
C. Notwithstanding subsection B, any person who is registered in Virginia on January 1, 2010, shall be deemed to have provided satisfactory proof of citizenship and shall not be required to submit proof of citizenship so long as the person remains registered in Virginia. (emphasis added)
While this Bill purports to strengthen voter integrity and identification provisions, it has, at Section 24.2-418B a general amnesty for ALL voters registered as of January 1, 2010-EVEN THOSE WHO ARE ILLEGALLY REGISTERED! In fact, if it becomes law, it may result in a rush to register before January 1, 2010, since anyone who unlawfully registers to vote gets a free pass here.
UPDATE: Delegate Bob Marshall responds in the comments with a more substantial explanation of what is going on here:
If my bill, HB 2509, really were of benefit to illegal’s registering to vote, please explain why the Democrats you regularly take to task for being soft on illegal aliens, uniformly opposed my bill coming out of Committee.
Right now, under current Virginia law, THERE IS NO PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP REQUIRED AS A CONDITION OF REGISTERING TO VOTE. You just sign a statement that you are a citizen, no proof required! With the defeat of my HB 2509, the law cannot be changed until possibly January 1, 2011, adding even more time without requiring proof of citizenship to vote!
Your explanation about my bill, HB 2509, is incorrect and completely inconsistent with my entire public voting record. Why in the world would I do anything to make it possible for illegal’s to vote in Virginia? You published this false claim without asking me for my explanation, and instead you listened to individuals whom you did not want to identify. I think I am entitled to know who my false accusers are.
Two Republicans (Del. Bill Janis and Del. Tim Hugo) spoke for the first time today on the floor of the House of Delegates, against final passage of my bill, characterizing it as “amnesty for illegal’s.” Bill Janis is an attorney and a member of the House Privileges and Elections Committee which heard this bill and neither he nor anyone else ever raised an illegal amnesty concern. When my bill passed in Committee, some of the Democrats, and all of those whom you would consider “soft” on illegal’s, voted against my bill. All the Republicans voted for it.
The language which Delegates Janis and Hugo objected to was the enactment date of January 1, 2010. The only reason that date was in my bill was because the Voter Registrars of numerous localities, indicated they needed adequate time to adjust their forms and procedures to accommodate the new proof of citizenship and other requirements that would be enacted under my bill and I did not want there to be an excuse to defeat the bill on the grounds that it did not allow time for transition.
But I also trusted that the concerns of Delegates Janis and Hugo regarding the enactment date were genuine, so I agreed both in the Republican Caucus and on the floor of the House of Delegates, to allow a Senate amendment, if possible, because my bill was on third reading and could not be amended in the House.
Bill Janis mischaracterized my private conversation with him. I did not agree that the bill allowed for amnesty. I simply reminded him that several years ago we had to grandfather those who had previously applied for a drivers’ licenses and exempted them from having to provide birth certificates and other documents for a new license. This bill was not considered “amnesty” for illegal’s because it actually strengthened driver’s license requirements for the future. You have to start at some point. IT is NOT Practical to expect all 5 million registered voters to start over again.
After I explained my bill, Tim Hugo and Bill Janis continued to describe my bill as “amnesty,” and debate was quickly cut off and the vote taken. The misinformation caused a stampede of no votes from Republicans, resulting in the defeat of the only measure in the House that had been reported to the House floor that could have established proof of citizenship for voter registration. Current Virginia law has no, I repeat no, proof of citizenship to register to vote!
My bill would have also required the posting in the two most prevalent languages of the locality, on the walls of all 2500+ polling places across the Commonwealth, the parts of the Virginia Constitution which clearly spell out that citizenship is required for voting, and that a violation results in criminal penalties including jail time and a $2500 fine.
To reiterate: My bill required proof of Citizenship as a condition to register to vote by submission of a birth certificate, passport, naturalization papers and other federal documents indicating US citizenship.
It also required a government picture ID as a condition of voting, a requirement which is much stronger than present law. It required absentee voters to submit a government ID with a picture to accompany an application for absentee voting. Unfortunately, your readers were not informed of any of this!
I had also sent you my amendment which was successfully added to the House Budget bill indicating that beginning July 1, 2009, Virginia would be required to use E-Verify for all regular prospective employees of the Commonwealth. I had hoped that you would publicize this, but so far I have not seen this posted.
I hope you will let your blog commentators know who gave you the misleading information about my bill because HB 2509 was the ONLY bill from the House of Delegates in this session which could have prevented ILLEGAL aliens from registering to vote. Sadly, for the citizens of Virginia, and the integrity of our voting process, the only bill which placed any roadblock in the way of illegal’s registering to vote is dead because of the actions of certain Delegates and the misinformation that was spread.
Delegate Bob Marshall
PS You also posted an amendment which I never offered and could only have been obtained by another delegate and passed on to you, because staff has no access to the floor of the House of Delegates where such amendments are kept at the Desk. Who is the secret delegate giving you bad information?
The amendment, which I did not offer but had ready just in case, delayed the effective date of my bill another six months beyond the current fiscal year, because the Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles had sent me a letter claiming my bill had an economic impact of $1.1 million which would have sent the bill back to the Appropriations Committee, clearly an attempt to kill my bill. My bill could not have been killed for lack of money in the current budget if the enactment date was beyond the current fiscal year. After determining that the Director of the DMV had not delivered his letter in his official capacity, there was no need for me to offer this amendment and I withdrew it.
Again, you know me, you know my record. Please check with me if you receive any other rumors about my record.
For the full wording of my bill and its history go to http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?091+sum+HB2509
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