Write-in votes; duties of local electoral boards. (SB1302)

Introduced By

Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Winchester)

Progress

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

Description

Write-in votes; duties of local electoral boards. Provides that when no person is elected to an office by write-in votes and the total number of write-in votes for that office is less than the total number of votes cast for the candidate receiving the least number of votes for that office, the electoral board is required only to ascertain and the abstract of votes is required only to contain the total number of write-in votes cast for that office. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
01/10/2017Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/17 17103065D
01/10/2017Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/13/2017Impact statement from DPB (SB1302)
01/17/2017Reported from Privileges and Elections with substitute (7-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
01/17/2017Committee substitute printed 17104357D-S1
01/19/2017Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/20/2017Passed by for the day
01/23/2017Read second time
01/23/2017Reading of substitute waived
01/23/2017Committee substitute agreed to 17104357D-S1
01/23/2017Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute SB1302S1
01/24/2017Read third time and passed Senate (22-Y 17-N) (see vote tally)
01/25/2017Impact statement from DPB (SB1302S1)
01/31/2017Placed on Calendar
01/31/2017Read first time
01/31/2017Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/31/2017Assigned P & E sub: Elections
02/14/2017Subcommittee recommends reporting (7-Y 0-N)
02/21/2017Left in Privileges and Elections

Video

This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 1 clip in all, totaling 16 minutes.

Transcript

This is a transcript of the video clips in which this bill is discussed.

THE SENATOR FROM FAIRFAX, CITY, SENATOR PETERSEN?

Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax): JUST SPEAKING BRIEFLY? OPPOSITION? AND I KNOW -- IF I MIGHT.

[Unknown]: THE SENATOR HAS THE FLOOR.

Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax): THIS IS OBVIOUSLY ANOTHER GOOD EXAMPLE OF IMMUNITY CREEP, WHERE THIS INITIALLY STARTED OUT FOR STATE PARK AND ADDED TO LOCAL PARTS AND NOW IT GOES TO PARK AUTHORITIES. THE BOTTOM LINE IS WHEN PEOPLE ARE INJURED ON A LOCATION, THERE'S A GREAT WAY TO ASSESS THE RISK AND INSURE AGAINST IT, IT'S AN INDUSTRY CALLED WAIT FOR IT INSURANCE, AND BY IN LARGE, PEOPLE CAN INSURE FOR THESE TYPE OF RISKS AND AGAIN, WHEN WE TAKE A PARK AUTHORITY OUT OF THIS EQUATION, IT WAS SIMPLY SAYING THAT PEOPLE GET INJURED FOR NEGLIGENCE REASONS ARE NOT GOING TO BE INSURED AGAINST AND WILL NOT HAVE A RECOVERY. SO AGAIN, I REALIZE THIS BATTLE WAS PRETTY MUCH FOUGHT AND LOST ON MANY OCCASIONS BUT AGAIN, IT'S JUST MORE EXAMPLES OF IMMUNITY CREEP.

[Unknown]: THANK YOU SENATOR. THE QUESTION IS, SHALL SENATE BILL 901 PASS? ALL IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION WILL RECORD THEIR VOTES AYE, THOSE OPPOSED NO. ARE THE SENATORS READY TO VOTE? DO ANY OF THE SENATORS DESIRE HAVE ALL THE SENATORS VOTED? TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? THE CLERK WILL CLOSE THE AYES 31, EIGHT. ROLL? AYES 31, NOS EIGHT. SENATE BILL 1073, RELATING TO GENERAL AND OPERATIONAL POWERS OF THE TOWN, TOWN ELECTIONS, APPOINTED OFFICERS. SENATOR FROM ROCKINGHAM, SENATOR OBENSHAIN.

Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg): MR. PRESIDENT, I MOVE THAT THE BILL PASS, AND SPEAKING TO THE BILL. THIS BILL IS UPDATING BRIDGEWATER TOWN CHARTER. IT CONFORMS THE CHARTER WITH CURRENT LAW. THE CHARTER OR -- CURRENTLY THE TOWN CONDUCTS ITS ELECTIONS IN NOVEMBER AS THEY ARE PERMITTED TO UNDER STATE LAW. THE CHARTER PROVIDES FOR THEM TO BE CONDUCTED IN MAY. HOWEVER, THIS CORRECTS THAT AND UPDATES THE CHARTER IN MULTIPLE ADDITIONAL WAYS.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THANK YOU SENATOR. THE QUESTION IS SHALL SENATE BILL 1073 PASS? ALL IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION WILL RECORD THEIR VOTES AYE, THOSE OPPOSED NO. ARE THE SENATORS READY TO HAVE ALL THE SENATORS VOTED? VOTE? DO ANY OF THE SENATORS DESIRE TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? THE CLERK WILL CLOSE THE ROLL.

Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg): AYES 39, NOS, ZERO.

[Unknown]: AYES 39, NOS, ZERO, THE BILL PASSES. SENATE BILL 1084, A BILL WHICH PROVIDED A CHARTER FOR THE TOWN OF HERNDON RELATING TO ELECTIONS. THE JUNIOR SENATOR FROM LOUDOUN, SENATOR WEXTON. THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT I MOVE THE BILL PASS AND SPEAKING TO THE MOTION. THE SENATOR HAS THE FLOOR. THIS BILL WOULD ALLOW THE TOWN OF HERNDON TO AMEND ITS CHARTER TO MOVE ITS TOWN ELECTIONS FROM MAY TO NOVEMBER, AS MANY TOWNS HAVE DONE BEFORE THEM. I ASK THE BILL PASS.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THANK YOU SENATOR. THE QUESTION IS, SHALL SENATE BILL 1084 PASS? ALL IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION WILL RECORD THEIR VOTES AYE, THOSE OPPOSED NO. ARE THE SENATORS READY TO VOTE? HAVE ALL THE SENATORS VOTED? DO ANY OF THE SENATORS DESIRE TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? THE CLERK WILL CLOSE THE ROLL.

[Unknown]: AYES 36, NOS TWO. AYES 36, NOS TWO, THE BILL PASSES. SENATE BILL 1134, A BILL WHICH PROVIDED A CHARTER FOR THE CITY OF WILLIAMSBURG RELATING TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AND HOUSING AUTHORITY. SENATOR FROM WILLIAMSBURG, SENATOR MASON.

Sen. Monty Mason (D-Williamsburg): MR. PRESIDENT, I MOVE THE BILL PASS, AND SPEAKING TO THE MOTION.

[Unknown]: THE SENATOR HAS THE FLOOR.

Sen. Monty Mason (D-Williamsburg): MR. PRESIDENT, CURRENTLY THE CITY COUNCIL'S REDEVELOPMENT HOUSING AUTHORITY IN WILLIAMSBURG, HUD REQUIRES THAT YOU HAVE A CITIZEN MEMBER. THIS EXPANDS THE CHARTER TO ALLOW TWO SIT EVENS FROM THE CITY OF WILLIAMSBURG, ONE THAT LIVES IN A HOUSING COMPLEX, TO BE A MEMBER OF THE HOUSING REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THE QUESTION IS, SHALL SENATE BILL 1134 PASS? ALL IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION WILL RECORD THEIR VOTES AYE, THOSE OPPOSED NO. ARE THE SENATORS READY TO HAVE ALL THE SENATORS VOTED? VOTE? DO ANY OF THE SENATORS DESIRE TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? THE CLERK WILL CLOSE THE ROLL.

[Unknown]: AYES 39, NOS, ZERO. AYES 39, NOS, ZERO, THE BILL PASSES. SENATE BILL 1236, A BILL RELATING TO CANDIDATE PETITIONS, NUMBER OF SIGNATURES REQUIRED FOR STATEWIDE CANDIDATES. THE SENATOR FROM ALEXANDRIA, SENATOR EBBIN.

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria): THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT, I MOVE THE BILL PASS AND SPEAKING TO THAT MOTION.

[Unknown]: THE SENATOR HAS THE FLOOR.

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria): RIGHT NOW IN VIRGINIA, TO RUN FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE, WHETHER IT'S COMMON OR LGAG OR U.S. SENATE, CANDIDATES ARE REQUIRED TO GET 10,000 SIGNATURES FROM ACROSS THE COMMONWEALTH, INCLUDING SOME OF THESE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS. THIS WOULD LOWER THAT NUMBER TO 5000. AND ONE OF THE REASONS I'M CONCERNED ABOUT THIS IS THE PEOPLE END UP PAYING TO GET THE SIGNATURES, END UP PAYING ORGANIZERS IN MOST IF NOT NEARLY ALL CASES AND I FEEL THAT SHOWING YOU 5000 SIGNATURES IS A SIGNIFICANT SHOW OF ORGANIZATION AND FURTHER I WOULD RATHER, IF PEOPLE, IF THEY HAVE THAT KIND OF MONEY, THEY SHOULD SPEND IT ON CONTACTING VOTERS RATHER THAN PAYING ORGANIZERS TO COLLECT SIGNATURES. FURTHER, WE CHANGED OUR LAW IN 2013 FOR THE BENEFIT OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. I BELIEVE IT WAS 2012, ONLY TWO REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES QUALIFIED FOR THE BALLOT. AND THE OTHER ONES WHO OVERCAME THE 10,000 VOTE THRESHOLD. WHEN WE LOWERED THAT TO 5000 FOR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ONLY, IN 2013, WE SAW THAT THIS YEAR, WE HAD A ROBUST PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ON BOTH SIDES WITH PEOPLE QUALIFYING FOR THE BALLOT. FURTHER, I LOOKED INTO THIS, AND I SAW THAT OHIO AND PENNSYLVANIA HAVE A 5000 SIGNATURE REQUIREMENT. SO I THINK THAT 5000 IS A SIGNIFICANT ENOUGH HURDLE TO SHOW WE HAVE ENOUGH ORGANIZATION FOR THOSE CANDIDATES, AND THAT WHAT WE DO FOR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES SHOULD ALSO BE WHAT WE DO FOR OTHER STATEWIDE ELECTIONS. WITH THAT, I RENEW MY MOTION THE BILL PASS.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THANK YOU SENATOR. THE QUESTION IS, SHALL SENATE BILL 1236 PASS? ALL IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION WILL RECORD THEIR VOTES AYE, THOSE OPPOSED NO. ARE THE SENATORS READY TO VOTE? HAVE ALL THE SENATORS VOTED? DO ANY OF THE SENATORS DESIRE TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? THE CLERK WILL CLOSE THE ROLL.

[Unknown]: AYES 19, NOS 19, RULE 361. AYES 19, NOS 19, RULE 361. THE CHAIR VOTES AYE, THE BILL PASSES. MR. PRESIDENT? HAVING VOTED ON THE PREVAILING SIDE BY WHICH WE PASSED THE BILL 1236 I WOULD LIKE TO ASK THAT BILL PLEASE BE RECONSIDERED.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THANK YOU SENATOR. THE QUESTION IS SHALL THE VOTE BY WHICH SENATE BILL 1236 PASSED BE RECONSIDERED. ALL IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION WILL RECORD THEIR VOTES AYE, THOSE OPPOSED NO. ARE THE SENATORS READY TO VOTE? HAVE ALL THE SENATORS VOTED? DO ANY OF THE SENATORS DESIRE TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? THE CLERK WILL CLOSE THE ROLL.

[Unknown]: AYES 34, NOS FIVE. AYES 34, NOS FIVE, THE MOTION CARRIES. THE SENATOR FROM ALEXANDRIA, SENATOR EBBIN.

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria): I RENEW MY MOTION THAT THE BILL PASS.

[Unknown]: THANK YOU SENATOR. THE QUESTION IS, SHALL SENATE BILL 1236 PASS? ALL IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION WILL RECORD THEIR VOTES AYE, THOSE OPPOSED NO. ARE THE SENATORS READY TO VOTE? HAVE ALL THE SENATORS VOTED? DO ANY OF THE SENATORS DESIRE TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? ROLL. THE CLERK WILL CLOSE THE

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria): AYES 18, NOS 21.

[Unknown]: AYES 18, NOS 21, THE BILL FAILS TO PASS. SENATE BILL 1302, A BILL RELATING TO WRITE-IN VOTES, DUTIES OF LOCAL ELECTORAL BOARDS. THE SENATOR FROM FALK EAR, SENATOR VOGEL. THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT, I MOVE THE BILL PASS AND SPEAKING TO THAT MOTION. THE SENATOR HAS THE FLOOR. THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT. THIS BILL IS A GOOD GOVERNMENT BILL AND IT REALLY IS BROUGHT TO YOU IN A WAY THAT MOSTLY BENEFITS LARGE JURISDICTIONS BUT HOPEFULLY BENEFITS EVERYBODY, AND WHAT IT SEEKS TO DO IS ALLOW LOCAL ELECTORAL BOARDS THE OPPORTUNITY TO NOT REPORT EACH INDIVIDUAL WRITE-IN VOTE IN THE CASE WHERE IT IS MATHEMATICAL IMPOSSIBLE FOR THOSE WRITE-IN VOTES TO AFFECT THE OUTCOME OF THE ELECTION. SO, FOR EXAMPLE, IN FAIRFAX COUNTY, IN THE MOST RECENT CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION, THE CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE WAS UNOPPOSED, THE NUMBER OF WRITE-IN VOTES WAS 27,000, THE NUMBER OF WRITE-IN VOTES OF NOT GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, BUT THE ELECTORAL BOARD WAS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE THE IDENTITY OF EACH OF THOSE WRITE-IN VOTES. NOW, IF IT WAS MICKEY MOUSE, THEN IT WAS JUST REPORTED AS INVALID, BUT THE IDENTITY OF EACH OF THOSE WRITE-IN VOTES WAS REQUIRED TO BE REPORTED. THAT REQUIREMENT COST THE LOCAL REGISTRAR AND ELECTORAL BOARD AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF RESOURCES AND I THINK THE TESTIMONY IN COMMITTEE WAS IT WAS FIVE OR SIX SOLVE ID -- SOLID DAYS WITH SEVERAL PEOPLE COMMITTED TO THAT TASK, AND I WOULD ARGUE THAT THERE WERE OTHER TASKS THAT WERE OF GREATER PRIORITY AND CERTAINLY OF GREATER IMPORT TO THE LOCAL ELECTORAL BOARD AND REGISTRAR IN THE WAKE OF THAT ELECTION. SO THIS WAS BROUGHT TO ME AT THE REQUEST OF THAT REGISTRAR, AND A COUPLE OF THINGS FOR THIS BODY TO UNDERSTAND, THERE IS A THRESHOLD, SO THAT IF IT'S CLOSE, YOU HAVE TO REPORT THEM, THEY ALWAYS HAVE TO BE COUNTED, THAT'S IMPORTANT FOR EVERYBODY TO KNOW, YOU ALWAYS COUNT THEM, YOU ARE JUST NOT REPORTING THE INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY OF EACH. THAT IS MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC. SO ANYBODY WHO WISHES TO COME AND FIND THAT INFORMATION OUT CAN GO TO THE LOCAL ELECTORAL BOARD AND PULL THAT INFORMATION. SO THAT'S WHAT THE BILL DOES. WITH THAT I ASK THE BODY PLEASE PASS THE BILL. SENATOR, THE SENATOR FROM ALEXANDRIA, SENATOR EBBIN? THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT, SPEAKING AGAINST THE BILL?

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria): THE SENATOR HAS THE FLOOR.

[Unknown]: I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THESE WRITE-IN VOTES THAT ARE NOT ENUMERATED ON THE ABSTRACT, IT DOESN'T MATTER WHETHER IT'S AN ORGANIZED EVIDENT OR UNORGANIZED EVERY AND I WOULD SAY IN MY HOME CITY THE INCUMBENT MAYOR GOT 9170 VOTES IN THE 2015 GENERAL HE WAS DEFEATED BY A ELECTION. SIGNIFICANT MARGIN. BUT THOSE VOTES WOULD NOT BE ENUMERATED, THE WAY I READ THE BILL. AND I THINK THAT THE PEOPLE WHO ARE INVOLVED IN THAT CAMPAIGN, WHO ARE CLOSELY WATCHED IT, THE MEDIA, SHOULD BE ABLE TO EASILY ASCERTAIN THE RESULTS. THEY CAN GO TO THE REGISTRAR'S OFFICE AND LOOK THROUGH THE TAPE, BUT I DON'T THINK THAT'S GOOD ENOUGH. I KNOW THAT THE DEMOCRACY IS NOT ALWAYS CHEAP, I REPRESENT FAIRFAX, COUNTY, TOO, AND I DON'T LIKE THE IDEA THAT REGISTRARS HAVE TO WORK SO HARD, BUT I DO THINK THAT WE ARE ENTITLED TO THE RESULTS. NOW, A BETTER WAY TO CHANGE THIS IS RIGHT NOW, IF YOU GET LESS THAN 5 PERCENT OF THE VOTES AS WRITE-INS, THOSE ARE NOT ASCERTAINED. IF IT WAS A HIGHER NUMBER THAN 5 PERCENT, THAT MIGHT BE A MORE REASONABLE WAY TO DO THIS. I KNOW THAT IN 2015, WE HAD HB2152 THAT ALL MEMBERS OF THE SENATE BUT TWO WHO WERE SERVING THEN VOTED AGAINST, AND I WOULD ASK THAT WE VOTE AGAINST THIS AGAIN. IT'S JUST -- ALSO, IN A MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL ELECTION OR PRIMARY, FOR EXAMPLE, FOR MY SEAT, I REPRESENT THREE AREAS, SO IF YOU WANTED TO KNOW HOW MANY WRITE-IN VOTES SOMEONE HAD GOTTEN AGAINST ME, WHETHER IT WAS AN ORGANIZED WRITE-IN VOTE OR WASN'T, YOU'D HAVE TO GO TO THE OFFICE OF ELECTIONS IN ARLINGTON, FAIRFAX, ALEXANDRIA, GO THROUGH THE TAPE, ADD UP THAT. I JUST THINK IN THE NAME OF TRANSPARENCY, THAT THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM. IF THE REGISTRARS SEE THIS AS A PROBLEM. WITH THAT I'D ASK WE VOTE AGAINST THE BILL.

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria): THANK YOU, THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM BATH COUNTY, SENATOR DEEDS.

Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath): WOULD THE SENATOR FROM FAUQUIER RESUME THE FLOOR FOR A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS.

[Unknown]: WILL THE SENATOR FROM FAUQUIER YIELD FOR A QUESTION?

Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath): YES I YIELD.

[Unknown]: SHE YIELDS, SENATOR. I ASK, SHE SAID UNDER THIS BILL THE VOTES GET COUNTED, THEY JUST DON'T GET REPORTED. IS THAT WHAT SHE SAID? YES, MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT I SAID, THE VOTES GET COUNTED, THE NUMBER OF WRITE-IN VOTES ARE COUNTED AND REPORTED. THEY ARE JUST NOT -- FOR LACK OF A BETTER DESCRIPTION, ITEMIZED, NAME BY NAME, FOR EVERY SINGLE PERSON. SO F. YOU KNOW, IN THE CASE OF THE 27,000, ALL 27,000 DIFFERENT PERSONS WHOSE NAMES WERE WRITTEN IN WOULD NOT BE PRID SO THAT THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO SPEND THE NEXT EIGHT DAYS DOING THAT. IT WOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC BUT NOT PROVIDED IN THE NEXT FIVE DAYS. I WOULD ASK -- MR. PRESIDENT -- DO YOU YIELD FOR AN ADDITIONAL QUESTION? SHE YIELDS, SENATOR. I WOULD ASK THE SENATOR IF THEY ARE COUNTED BUT NOT TABULATED, I GUESS, WHERE'S THE COST SAVINGS? IF THE VOTES ARE COUNTED, IF SOMEBODY HAS TO GO THROUGH THOSE 27,000 VOTES AND COUNT THEM AS WRITE-IN, WHERE ARE THE COST SAVINGS FOR THE REGISTRAR? THE