by Michael Mozelle
The new Representative elect from Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, Barbara Comstock, will have a difficult time living up to the legacy of sitting Representative Frank Wolf (R-Va.). As a 23-year veteran member of Congress, Wolf has been a rare model of bipartisan leadership and legislative effectiveness.
Congressman Wolf was first elected in 1980 during a wave of Republican victories under Ronald Reagan, after serving in the Army and working as an Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior from 1974-75. He faced few serious challenges to his seat during his time in Congress.
He has consistently used his position in Congress to advocate for human rights and religious freedom around the world, particularly in China, unlike many of his more hyper-partisan junior colleagues. Though he holds socially conservative stances on abortion and marriage equality, he falls within the ever shrinking middle ground of ideological moderates in Congress. Such a narrowing of ideological purity does little good for constituents, who may find themselves increasingly unrepresented by the platform of either major party.
According to Vanderbilt Prof. Alan Wiseman and Batten Prof. Craig Volden’s The Lawmakers, Congressman Wolf fell below average legislative effectiveness only once during his career in Congress and consistently ranked well above average between 1981 and 2012.GovTrack.us, a similar site that tracks voting records, placed Wolf in the top 5 percent of Republicans for bipartisan voting.
by Grady Brown
There are a few weeks until the midterm elections, and some Virginians have raised concerns about the state’s voter ID law, passed back in 2013. The contentious bill barely passed the Senate, requiring then Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling to cast the deciding vote.
Lt. Gov. Bolling explained his deciding vote in a press release saying, “I think [the bill] is a reasonable effort to tighten voter identification requirements and assure greater integrity in the voting process.” However, Democrats remained unconvinced. Senator Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) stated, “we still have no evidence of voter fraud. None at all.” Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke) claimed that the bill was “simply a voter suppression bill.”
Coming into effect this year, the law requires voters to show a valid form of photo identification at their place of polling. Voters may vote provisionally if they lack proper identification, but provisional voters must either mail a copy of their identification or present one in person within three days to County election officials.
Virginia is one of 34 states that has passed a voter ID law. Like many others, the Virginia bill sharply divided Republicans and Democrats. Republicans were primarily concerned with voter fraud in Virginia. The Virginia Voters Alliance recently reported a case of 43,893 duplicate registered voters in both Maryland and Virginia and 164 voters that appeared to vote in both states.