U.S. appeals court to hear arguments on
Virginia's voter ID law
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[September 22, 2016]
(Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on
Thursday will hear Virginia Democrats' challenge to a 2013
Republican-backed state law requiring prospective voters to show
approved photo identification before casting their ballots.
The Virginia Democratic Party is asking the Fourth Circuit Court of
Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, to overturn the law. A federal judge in
May upheld the measure passed by the Republican-led legislature and
signed by then-Governor Robert McDonnell, also a Republican.
The appeal ahead of the Nov. 8 elections is among legal challenges
around the United States to voter identification laws that were driven
by Republicans who argue they prevent election fraud.
The Virginia Democratic Party contends that the law was intended to
deter young and minority voters from turning out on Election Day and to
counter Democrats' growing political clout in the state.
In upholding the law, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson said that the
measure created an "inconvenience" for potential voters who did not have
drivers' licenses or other government-issued ID. But that was not enough
to merit striking it down, he wrote.
The state has argued that photo ID is needed to ensure that only
registered voters cast ballots and to prevent voter fraud.
In 2008, President Barack Obama became the first Democrat to carry
Virginia since 1964, boosted by turnout among black, Latino and young
voters. He carried the state again in 2012.
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Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads her Republican
opponent Donald Trump in Virginia opinion polls.
In the most recent statewide elections, Democrats swept the top
offices of governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. The
state's two U.S. senators also are Democrats.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down in July a North
Carolina law that required voters to show photo ID, ruling that it
intentionally discriminated against minority voters.
The U.S. Supreme Court last month rejected a North Carolina request
that the restrictions be reinstated for November's elections.
(Editing by Alan Crosby)
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