Public Comments for: HB205 - Election officials, state and local; acceptance of certain gifts and funding prohibited, etc.
Last Name: Sanden Locality: Loudoun

I support HB 205 to prohibit private financing from influencing the General Registrar activities, including hiring staff or contractors, paying for or providing free training, and purchasing equipment. We need to keep elections and the staff that run them free from conflicts of interest. HB 205 will increase trust in elections by keeping the influence of private money out of election system operations. Billionaires should not be allowed to buy up and influence the nonpartisan election operations. Virginians deserve to know their votes will be counted by someone free from outside influence and partisan funding.

Last Name: Diehl Locality: Loudoun

I strongly support the requirement for a photo ID for voter registration and voting (HB46) This is a common sense, no hassle safeguard to defeat fraud. Similarly, we should ELIMINATE same day registration (HB185). There is simply no way to instantaneously verify that a person is who they claim to be. Furthermore, this imposes a huge, unnecessary burden on election officials or those who may be tasked with a forensic audit, etc. I support the reduction of the early voting period (HB39). Two weeks is adequate for those who must be out of town on business, etc. I support limitations on large amounts of outside funding (HB 205). American elections SHOULD NOT be for sale. As a retired Marine officer and current elections official, I am astounded that sober politicians persist in trying to subvert the Constitution (to which they took an oath) and enable voter fraud through the practices as listed above, as well as ballot harvesting and use of unsecured drop boxes! Through its lack of good judgment and integrity, persons on the Loudoun County School Board have already made us a nationally known laughingstock. Let's pray that similarly minded people in the State Senate DON'T expand our shame by opening our election processes open to rampant fraud.

Last Name: Kasch Organization: a long time Virginian Locality: Arlington

I'm a Virginian in favor of safeguarding the election process. Since I am an Arlington county election officer, I know that preventing election fraud requires voters to be citizens verifiable by free voter ID and a verifiable pre-election day registration process. 14 days is plenty of time to vote. Same day voter registration is wrong because there is no way to verify eligibility and identity. The 45 day election season is an expensive use of taxpayer dollars for election operations. The longer election period provides greater opportunity for fraud and abuse by felons, identity thieves, or illegal inhabitants. It also is burdensome to unpaid poll watchers and other election operations volunteers. Increased demands on the postal service to deliver absentee ballots is asking for chaos and mass disenfranchisement. Election results will take longer to tabulate if there is a massive amount of mail-in voting. Absentee ballots make it much easier to forge a signature, impersonate a voter, or buy a vote in the privacy of one’s home than it is in a voting booth at the polls where oversight occurs. These are common sense election procedures.

Last Name: Bartholomew Theresa Locality: Midlothian

This bill prohibits private financing from influencing General Registrar activity . Please support this bill . Election officials are there to guarantee a fair election free from fraud and voter tampering. Absolutely no gifts of funding should be allowed in order to safeguard the election process.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

HB205 would make it illegal for an election official to accept money from any individual or entity except the government to fund an election, protecting public elections from influence by private wealthy individuals and entities. HB305 would increase the number of members of the State Board of Elections from five to six, three members from each party. Currently, the Commissioner of Elections is appointed by the Governor, but if this bill is adopted the Commissioner would now be appointed by a supermajority of the State Board of Elections instead. The bill also includes provisions to improve accuracy of the voting roll, require voter ID, require election audits, better manage drop off locations, and more.

Last Name: Walter Organization: Capital Research Center Locality: Sterling, VA

Comments Document

Dear Chairman Ransone, Representative Wachsmann, distinguished Members of the Committee: Thank you for allowing me to submit this testimony. I’m Scott Walter, a resident of Sterling, Virginia, and president of the Capital Research Center in Washington, D.C., a 37-year-old think tank that is a watchdog on nonprofits. I do not presume to tell you how to vote on H.B. 205 but only to tell you, as an expert on nonprofit funding, the question you face: Should the Commonwealth’s elections be governed by you, the people’s representatives, or by megadonors? Personally, as a Virginia citizen I do not want donors—from anywhere on the political spectrum—or the nonprofits they use, to manipulate elections through gifts to government offices. I want you, our democratically elected officials, to regulate Virginia’s elections, not megadonors from either party. Neither donors nor “nonpartisan” nonprofits can be trusted to keep their thumbs off the scale when they have millions in their hands. I was not surprised after testifying to your Senate counterparts to see that every single committee member from both parties recognized the dangers I am describing and voted to pass a similar bill. At Capital Research Center, we have studied exhaustively one megadonor’s use of two supposedly nonpartisan nonprofits to send funds to government election offices in nearly every state, to the documented benefit of his preferred political party. But because this is a bipartisan problem, I won’t name either party in my testimony. While one party benefitted dramatically in 2020, next time the other party’s donors may pull the same trick. All of us should want to avoid that. I’ll call the lucky folks last time, “Party 1,” and the main “nonpartisan” nonprofit that benefitted them “Group 1.” Group 1 received hundreds of millions of dollars in 2020 from one out-of-state billionaire. Nearly 4 million of those dollars came into government election offices in Virginia. The critical question is how much money went to which election offices. I am not claiming the money funded fraud, only that it funded turnout targeted to help one side. For the sake of argument, I am happy to assume that not one vote in Virginia was cast fraudulently, and not one vote was miscounted. Even if that were true, it is scandalous that this outside money boosted turnout for Party 1 in its most vote-rich jurisdictions. This is a new scheme in our politics, but we all know that when one party crafts a novel weapon and wins, the other party will add the weapon to its arsenal. Do you want to keep this legal loophole open and allow such an arms race? Our analysis found that a pattern repeats in every battleground state. First, Group 1 is far more likely to fund election jurisdictions that are rich with Party 1 votes. Second, it funds those jurisdictions much more heavily per capita. Election expert J. Christian Adams sums it up: Group 1’s cash “converted election offices in key jurisdictions with deep reservoirs of [Party 1] votes into Formula One turnout machines.” That’s what happened last time. Next time, the opposite could happen—if you allow it. Thank you. (Attached is a breakdown of the specifics in the Virginia 2020 election.)

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

HB71 - VEPCO's comments on 2/1/22 were that they had first amendment rights. They do, but NOT to run this state and its people into the ground in the name of profits. Virginia: owned and operated by VEPCO is a saying that should not occur but it is. HB85, HB174, 205, 524, 575, 973, 1296, 1302 - This helps the people. Please move to report.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

HB205: This legislation would make it illegal for an election official to accept money from any individual or entity except the government to fund an election, protecting public elections from influence by private wealthy individuals and entities. HB71: If adopted, this bill would add protection from bias to elections. It would protect from corruption in the marketplace by prohibiting public utility entities from making financial contributions to candidates campaigning for political office.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

All bills that will reflect a stronger more secure election in the future. Considering both sides, Trump and Biden, have spoken in regards to those concerns, these should be reported on with bipartisan approval. Thank you.

Last Name: Early Locality: Chantilly

I support both these bills. Private money brings in and opens the door to corruption.

Last Name: Loper Locality: LEESBURG

I support these bills. As demonstrated in similar instances, private money opens the door to signifant risk of corruption untelible for our great Commonwealth annd her constituents.

Last Name: Messina Locality: Loudoun

I support these bills. Private money brings in and opens the door to corruption.

Last Name: Davidson Locality: Loudoun

I strongly support these bills.

Last Name: Gilmore Locality: Loudoun

I support these bills. Private money causes corruption.

Last Name: Ballard Locality: Fairfax

I support these bills. Private money brings in and opens the door to corruption.

Last Name: Jonnes Locality: Loudoun county Ashburn

I am in favor of HB205 HB1101

Last Name: George Locality: Loudon County, Leesburg

HB205 and HB1101

Last Name: Ray III Locality: Loudoun

I support these bills. Private money brings in and opens the door to corruption.

Last Name: Cooper Locality: Loudoun County

I support these bills to keep private money, gifts from buying off state and local elections and officials in Virginia. Even under the purest motives, private election funding given to government offices is inappropriate and creates distrust. I am a minority here in Virginia. We work hard to take good care of our family. I am not a millionaire or billionaire, and I have no issue with those who are, but they should NOT be allowed to buy off our election officials and their offices. It is wrong to allow private funding of our government offices by anyone. Thank you for appreciating my position. Please show your support for minorities and regular Virginians by supporting

Last Name: Clarke Locality: Eastville

If you care about Virginia and every person as a voter, I urge you to pass HB205 - Wachsmann and also HB1101 – LaRock to keep private money from influencing and buying off state and local elections and officials in Virginia. The companion bill to this was passed yesterday in the Senate P&E committee it is now up to you to pass this bill in the House P&E! Even under the purest motives, private election funding given to government offices is inappropriate and creates distrust. We work hard to take good care of our family. I am not a millionaire or billionaire, and I have no issue with those who are, but they should not be allowed to buy off our election officials and their offices. It is wrong to allow private funding of our government offices by anyone. Thank you for appreciating my position. Please show your support for minorities and regular Virginians by supporting HB205 - Wachsmann and also HB1101 – LaRock today in this committee. Do not pass it by or lay it on the table, but vote YES and pass it out of committee. Thank you

Last Name: Martin Locality: Fairfax

Voting is a constitutional right. Any law that restricts rather than expands our constitutional right & DUTY to vote is simply voter suppression. We must not repeal any expansions of absentee ballots. Do not decrease early voting. - extend the number of days allowed. Do not eliminate any ballot box locations- expand. We have no need to re-register absentee ballots every year. No excuse absentee voting is absolutely crucial. The state must provide easy and free access to voter ID if a photo is required. Since the USPS has slowed considerably, we must keep the 3 day rule for receiving ballots after election day. All local elections must be on Election Day (in Nov). Election Day should be a holiday. Until we do a complete overhaul of campaign finance & eliminate dark money/special interests there must be no restrictions on outreach, education & registration or from where a candidate may collect funds. Voter registration up to and including Election Day is absolutely crucial to ensure all citizens vote. I support all bills expanding our rights and abilities to make voting as easy as possible. I oppose all bills attempting to restrict any access to our ballot and our vote. The process is too important for the elected officials to be able to restrict us from our duty to be informed voters. Keep expanding our rights. Do not restrict, suppress or subvert them.

End of Comments