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Coverage of Virginia politics and the 2014 election.

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Legislature rejects McDonnell signature amendments on voter ID bill

Both the state Senate and House of Delegates have voted down amendments to a voter ID bill that would let registrars compare the signatures of voters to their original registration signature to determine they’re eligible to vote.

The bills — one of which was sponsored by Del. Mark Cole — say that if a voter doesn’t have identification, he or she must vote a provisional ballot, which will only be counted later if the voter provides identification to election officials.

Gov. Bob McDonnell made several amendments to the two bills, including adding a provision that let registrars approve a voter by comparing his signature to a signature on file in the registration records.

Both houses rejected that today.

The Senate did so with no debate. In the House, lawmakers said it would add confusion to the process and require election officials to become handwriting experts. Several voter registrars had expressed concerns about the signature provision.

Democrats predicted problems in cases where a voter’s registration card was lost, or the signature was so old that the voter’s style of writing his signature had changed. They also objected to the governor removing a provision that would let an election official approve a voter that the official personally recognized.

The House also rejected an amendment giving voters more days in which to bring identification to election officials if they don’t have it on election day.

Both bills will now go back to the governor, who can only sign or veto them.