Absentee voting; verification of signatures by officers of elections. (HB1121)

Introduced By

Del. Rich Anderson (R-Woodbridge)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Absentee voting; signature requirement; verification of signatures by officers of elections. Requires the officers of elections to compare the signature on an absentee ballot envelope with the signature on that voter's voter registration application. Three officers, including one representative of each political party, are required to agree that the signatures match in order for the absentee ballot to be accepted. If less than three agree, the ballot is given provisional status and the electoral board makes the final determination of its validity. Notice by certified mail is required to be given to the voter. The bill also requires absentee ballot applications to be signed by the applicant's own handwriting or by electronic means, if such electronic signature is created by using a cursor, stylus, or similar device moved by the applicant to capture his signature. Any application signed by any other means shall be rejected. Read the Bill »


02/12/2016: Failed to Pass in Committee


01/13/2016Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/16 16103099D
01/13/2016Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/19/2016Assigned to sub: Elections
01/19/2016Assigned P & E sub: Elections
01/20/2016Impact statement from DPB (HB1121)
01/21/2016Impact statement from DPB (HB1121)
02/09/2016Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s) (5-Y 2-N)
02/12/2016Continued to 2017 in Privileges and Elections


Waldo Jaquith writes:

It's hard to count all of the ways that this is a terrible idea. But here are two easy ones:

1. Cryptographic signatures are far, far more secure than a physical signature. It's not even a little bit close. If your goal is security, then prohibit physical signatures in favor of electronic signatures, not the other way around. (On the other hand, if your goal is voter suppression, then Del. Anderson's approach is the right one.)

2. Unless these three officers are going to be trained in handwriting recognition, this system is going to work terribly. People signing their names on electronic devices do so very differently than in pen and ink. Think about the last time you signed your name when paying at the grocery store, and now imagine that being compared to your voter registration application (which, if you're like me, you completed 20 years ago).

ACLU-VA Voting Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia opposes this bill.