In his first tie-breaking vote of the 2013 session Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling sided with Democrats to delay implementation of a measure designed to tighten Virginia's voter identification law.

The measure sponsored by Sen. Dick Black, R-Loudoun, would remove utility bills, social security cards, bank statements, government-issued checks and paychecks from the list of acceptable identification voters can use at the polls to prove who they are.

Senate Democrats introduced an amendment that would delay implementation of the bill until July 1, 2014, should the measure pass the evenly-divided chamber Tuesday. They argued that the measure was designed to suppress voter turnout, and that with voter identification changes last year the state did not have the time or money to launch another voter education effort ahead of the 2013 elections. The bill also would not go into effect if the General Assembly does not include money in the budget to fund a voter education campaign.

Bolling said he supports the measure to limit the forms of acceptable identification, but agreed with Democrats that the time frame for changing the law be pushed back.

"Let me be clear, I support the purpose of SB719," Bolling said in a press release. "I think it is a reasonable effort to tighten voter identification requirements and assure greater integrity in the voting process.  However, we just changed Virginia’s voter ID requirements in 2012, and we cannot change these requirements every year.  I am concerned that this would create unnecessary confusion among voters about what forms of ID are required at the polls."

When the measure comes up for a vote on Tuesday it is likely to result in another tie, which Bolling indicated he will break in Republicans favor.

He has also thrown his support behind a measure by Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, that would require photo identification only at the polls and includes a computer data base of voter photos for use by election officials at the polls. That measure already has a 2014 effective date. The Senate will vote on that bill Tuesday also.

"I will support passage of (Obenshain's bill) if it comes before the Senate and results in a tie vote," Bolling said. "I have always supported photo ID because I believe it will help improve integrity in the elections process.  However, it would make no sense to have passed comprehensive changes to our voter ID laws in 2012, to pass the additional changes set forth in SB719 in 2013, and then attempt to implement a pure photo ID requirement in 2014.  It is this type of constant change in our voter ID requirements that I fear could create unnecessary confusion in the minds of voters."

Voting with the Democrats is an example of the once stalwart Republican's new "independent voice." Bolling dropped out of the race for the GOP nomination for governor against now presumptive nominee Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Bolling has said he will announce whether he plans to run for governor as an independent in March.

One of the seven Republican candidates hoping to replace Bolling as lieutenant governor, Hampton Roads-based minister E.W. Jackson slammed Bolling for his tie-breaking vote Tuesday.

"I am greatly disappointed at Lieutenant Governor Bolling's vote to kill Sen. Dick Black's bill to help ensure that our electoral process is fair, open, and honest. Valid elections are the very cornerstone of our system and this step toward ensuring a secure process is not a change that should wait another year," Jackson said in a press release.

To be clear, Bolling did not vote to kill Black's legislation, he just voted to delay implementation of the measure should it become law.