Elections; clarifications and revisions to registration and election processes. (HB1878)

Introduced By

Sen. John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Elections; clarifications and revisions to registration and election processes; penalties. Incorporates changes to definitions, duties of election officials, registration procedures, voting procedures, and election offenses; penalties. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/12/2009Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/14/09 095586806
01/12/2009Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/15/2009Impact statement from VCSC (HB1878)
01/15/2009Assigned P & E sub: Elections
01/27/2009Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s)
01/28/2009Impact statement from DPB (HB1878)
01/30/2009Reported from Privileges and Elections with substitute (21-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/30/2009Committee substitute printed 095609472-H1
02/02/2009Impact statement from VCSC (HB1878H1)
02/02/2009Read first time
02/02/2009Impact statement from DPB (HB1878H1)
02/03/2009Passed by for the day
02/04/2009Read second time
02/04/2009Committee substitute agreed to 095609472-H1
02/04/2009Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB1878H1
02/05/2009Read third time and passed House BLOCK VOTE (99-Y 0-N)
02/05/2009VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (99-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/06/2009Constitutional reading dispensed
02/06/2009Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
02/17/2009Reported from Privileges and Elections with substitute (12-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/17/2009Committee substitute printed 095634472-S1
02/19/2009Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/20/2009Read third time
02/20/2009Reading of substitute waived
02/20/2009Committee substitute agreed to 095634472-S1
02/20/2009Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB1878S1
02/20/2009Passed Senate with substitute (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/20/2009Reconsideration of Senate passage agreed to by Senate (37-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
02/20/2009Passed by for the day
02/23/2009Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB1878S1
02/23/2009Read third time
02/23/2009Passed Senate with substitute (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2009Placed on Calendar
02/24/2009Impact statement from VCSC (HB1878S1)
02/24/2009Impact statement from DPB (HB1878S1)
02/25/2009Senate substitute rejected by House (2-Y 95-N)
02/25/2009VOTE: --- REJECTED (2-Y 95-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2009Senate insisted on substitute (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2009Senate requested conference committee
02/26/2009House acceded to request
02/26/2009Conferees appointed by House
02/26/2009Delegates: Cosgrove, Jones, Alexander
02/26/2009Conferees appointed by Senate
02/26/2009Senators: Blevins, Petersen, Edwards
02/27/2009Conference substitute printed 095651472-H2
02/27/2009Conference report agreed to by House (92-Y 2-N)
02/27/2009VOTE: --- ADOPTION (92-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
02/28/2009Conference report agreed to by Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/03/2009Impact statement from DPB (HB1878H2)
03/09/2009Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB1878ER)
03/09/2009Impact statement from DPB (HB1878ER)
03/09/2009Signed by President
03/11/2009Signed by Speaker
03/30/2009Governor's recommendation received by House
04/07/2009Placed on Calendar
04/08/2009Amendments specific and severable
04/08/2009House rejected Governor's recommendation amendments #'s 1, 2 and 3 (42-Y 57-N)
04/08/2009VOTE: --- REJECTED (42-Y 57-N) (see vote tally)
04/08/2009House concurred in Governor's recommendation amendment #4 (99-Y 0-N)
04/08/2009VOTE: --- ADOPTION (99-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
04/08/2009Senate concurred in Governor's recommendation amendment #4 (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
04/08/2009G Governor's recommendation adopted in part
04/08/2009Reenrolled bill text (HB1878ER2)
04/08/2009Signed by Speaker as reenrolled
04/08/2009Signed by President as reenrolled
04/08/2009Communicated to Governor
04/14/2009Reenrolled bill text (HB1878ER2)
05/06/2009G Approved by Governor-Chapter 865 (effective 7/1/09)
05/06/2009G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0865)


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 2 clips in all, totaling 3 minutes.

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: SB1188.


Waldo Jaquith writes:

Here are the noteworthy bits in this bill:

However, it shall not be unlawful for a qualified voter to enter and be in the polling place for the purpose of casting a ballot while wearing clothing, buttons, or stickers bearing a candidate name or other political message so long as he makes no active or overt attempt to influence any other voter.

That's intended to address complaints across the state as a result of Virginia's long-standing prohibition on wearing any campaign materials to a polling place. Somebody wearing a "Vote McCain" t-shirt to a polling place would have been sent home to change clothes. There's an active lawsuit over just such a matter.

To establish domicile, a person must live in a particular locality with the intention to remain there for an unlimited time.

This is wading into the dispute over where college students vote. That was a topic of a lot of debate in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, particularly in Williamsburg and Blacksburg. Del. Cosgrove is apparently seeking to prohibit students from voting in elections at their university. So a student from Fairfax who enrolls in Virginia Tech and lives there for ten years to get her undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degree would be prohibited from voting there, prevented from deciding who will represent her on the town council.

The form shall contain a statement that whoever votes more than once in any election in the same or different jurisdictions shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

This is addressing the non-existent problem of people voting repeatedly. As best as I can tell, this is a Republican scare tactic that has its roots in Democrats' Byrd Machine, which sought to keep poor blacks from voting by frightening or intimidating them.

I'm particularly concerned about this "establishing domicile" bit. "[A] person must live in a particular locality with the intention to remain there for an unlimited time." Really? I've got oodles of 20-something friends who (naturally) live in particular localities, but they no intention of remaining there "for an unlimited time." They're always looking for for a job in New York, considering relocating to Portland, etc. For folks who do not intend to live in one place "for an unlimited time," where are they to vote? The mere fact that somebody is considering moving to Portland will surely not entitle him to vote in Portland. But they'd be disqualified from voting here, under Del. Cosgrove's proposal.

There are many other changes in this bill. Some of them may well be much-needed housekeeping changes and improvements, but others are clearly not well thought-out.

Jeremy Aldrich writes:

The concept of "no taxation without representation" comes to mind. Waldo sums up my main question about the new definition of domicile very well.