Public Comments for: HB945 - Absentee voting in person; available beginning on the tenth day prior to election.
I am in favor of these bills to ensure honest and accurate election counts in the state of Virginia. This would include bills HB 1090, 1101, 1109, 121, 196,24,941,942,945,956 and HJ 65.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment. I’m not sure how many people realize it but an enormous strain is placed on our county election offices and the volunteers they must coordinate by directing 45 days of early voting. In addition to the daily manning responsibilities, there is a significant increase in the exposure to potential fraudulent behavior. As an election officer in Loudoun County, I was able to see that there was little to be gained by extending early voting to 45 days, but there was much cost and much increased risk to the security of our elections. The 45-day rule was put in place during a pandemic. The pandemic is over. Bringing back early voting to 10-days before the election is a reasonable, sensible, and wise course of action of take. 10 days is more than enough time for people who prefer to vote early to do so. For those who can’t vote in that 10-day window, voting absentee is an option. I urge your support of this simply change to reduce the heavy strain put on county election offices, who already have to hold a major election every year, and to reduce our exposure to fraudulent activity. Thank you.
Please move to report HB54, 149, 175,310, 398, 441, 945, 956.
I am opposed to shortening the in-person absentee voting period to 10 days. In-person absentee voting has become very popular and a 10 day period will result in long lines that will discourage early voters. Further, this method was used heavily by college students for the November 2021 election. Many of them voted when they were home for fall break and noted that uncertain mail service at their college address made voting in person attractive. I work as an Officer of Election (Precinct Chief on election day, processing early voters, preparing absentee ballots for mailing). As I processed early in-person voters, many expressed relief at not having to worry about bad weather on election day, being ill, or having a sudden emergency keep them from voting. Ten days is just too short a period to serve those who will want to vote in person before election day. It will also increase volume on election day, again causing long lines.
Voting should be simple, quick, and accesible to everyone. We have a lot of elderly and/or disabled residents, people who don't have access to a car, or members of the military serving overseas. Our legislators in Richmond should be working to make every Virginia's voice is heard. In addition, returning citizens should be eligible to vote once their sentence is completed. If they've served their time in prison as determined by a judge and/or jury, no purpose is served by denying them the right to vote.
Virginia enacted several new voting laws in 2020 and 2021 to make voting more accessible during the pandemic. Early in-person voting hours were increased, mail-in absentee ballots no longer required a witness signature, more drop-box locations were available. These changes led to record voter turnout (with insignificant fraud) in both the 2020 presidential election and the 2021 gubernatorial election. Therefore I oppose any new bill that would restrict our rights to accessible voting.
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.