Voters; those registered may vote prior to election day. (HB621)

Introduced By

Del. Bob Brink (D-Arlington)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Elections; early voting. Provides that any registered voter qualified to vote in the election may vote in person from 17 to three days before the election at specified times and at the sites provided in the locality. The provisions for absentee voting remain in effect except that the provisions for in-person absentee voting are superseded by the early voting process during the early voting period. The bill takes effect January 1, 2009. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
01/08/2008Committee
01/08/2008Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/08 081064440
01/08/2008Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/15/2008Assigned P & E sub: Elections
02/08/2008Continued to 2009 in Privileges and Elections

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB1278.

Comments

T. D. Howard writes:

Add the money to pay for a three week long election day. Additional machines, additional staff, Additional security measures and fraud prevention. Early voting does not increase overall turnout, but is a convenience. How much is convenience worth?

Ivy Main writes:

No-excuse in-person absentee voting:
Legislation to help voters without creating opportunities for fraud

New Era supports legislation to remove the excuse requirement for absentee voting only for in-person voting.

Absentee voting has become an increasingly important option as Virginians travel more, commute long hours, and work unpredictable schedules. Voters want more flexibility than a single day of polling during the work week allows. In addition, election officials as well as voters are concerned about the long lines in presidential elections, which would be partially alleviated if some voters, especially the elderly, voted before election day.

No-excuse in-person absentee voting legislation would not permit any new absentee voting by mail. Voters who wish to vote absentee without an excuse must show up in person, meeting the same identification requirements as on election day, and having their names and addresses checked against the pollbooks in the same manner as election day voters.

Confirmed incidents of election fraud by voters have been few in Virginia; allegations in the past have generally involved malfeasance by election officials. But to the extent a voter might decide to risk a felony conviction for the sake of casting an illegal vote, it stands to reason he would do it by a mailed-in ballot rather than show up in person at a registrar’s office to face the scrutiny of election officials.

Business travelers, the elderly, pregnant women, commuters, parents of school-age children, and anyone with an uncertain schedule would benefit from the ability to vote absentee. By requiring them to do so in person, the legislature can give them the help they need and eliminate the yearly influx of new absentee voting bills—without increasing opportunities for fraud.

In fact, the effect of this legislation would likely be a decrease in the number of people voting absentee by mail, and thus a decrease in the potential for fraud and error. The current list of valid excuses is long and unwieldy, and has led to confusion about who is covered. Many absentee voters will prefer to vote in person when it means they don’t have to puzzle over the excuse provisions and sign their names to something they don’t fully understand.

This legislation offers voters the absentee voting option they want, while reducing the mailed-in absentee balloting that is the subject of fraud concerns. It’s a win-win solution for Virginia.