Public Comments for: HB956 - Absentee voting; deadline for returning absentee ballot.
Last Name: Dana Walker Locality: Loudoun

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.

Last Name: Oberlander Organization: Election Officer Locality: Loudoun County

As an Election Officer in Loudoun County, I support House Bill 956 for the reasons listed below. Thank you for passing it out of Committee and I ask you to vocally support HB956 on the House Floor. In 2020 a change was made to the law that allowed Absentee Ballots to be received and counted up until noon on the Friday following the Election, as long as the Absentee Ballot was postmarked Election Day. HB 956 will return the law to what it was prior to 2020 and require that Absentee ballots be received by close of the polls at 7:00 pm on Election Night to be counted. 1. The Registrars, their Staff and Election Officers are exhausted after Election Day and from all the work done before Election Day. Carrying the Election process longer to accepting and counting Absentee Ballots, for almost 3 days more after the close of the Election, only adds to their exhaustion and very probably mistakes. 2. As an Election Officer and observer of this process, I have seen absentee ballots arrive after the Election with postmarks missing, postmarks smeared and unable to be read or deciphered and these ballots were just accepted, even though it was several days after the Election. Humans are put in a position to make these decisions one by one, but I don’t think accepting these ballots was fair or right. 3. The 2020 law of accepting Absentee ballots after the Election also, opens the United States Postal Service and other Mail Agencies like Fed X and UPS , which are more removed entities and less secure than the Election Office, to be preyed upon and interfered with, by those who want to corrupt the Election, pay bribes and commit fraud. Strict Security measures and standards and Inspections and Bipartisan observation should be established for these mail entities, if Absentee Ballots continue to be accepted for days after the Election is over. 4. Last and most importantly, this 2020 Law of accepting Absentee Ballots until noon on the Friday after the Election, causes VA Voters and their ballots to be handled Inconsistently. The current 2020 law is a discriminatory law, which favors and gives preferential treatment to Voters who vote by Absentee Ballot, even if they vote too late for their ballot to be received before the election is over. In comparison, Voters who vote on Election Day, are not permitted to vote after 7:00 pm. No matter if they were stuck at work or stuck in traffic, if they arrive at 7:01 or 7:05, or 7:15 on Election Day, they are turned away and they can Not vote. The polls are closed! This is how elections are run! Accepting absentee ballots almost 3 days after the Election should Not be allowed. The Election is over and the polls are closed at 7:00 pm on Election night for All ballots. The law should be consistent and the same for all VA Voters whether voting in person on Election Day or Voting by Absentee ballot. The current law gives preferential treatment to Absentee Ballots almost 3 days after the close of Election and may actually be a violation of the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. ( A question came up in committee about Military ballots having time to be received. My understating is that most Military ballots are handled by email, so there should not be a mail delay.) I am in favor of HB 956 and returning to a law that is consistent for all the Virginia Voters. The Election should end at 7:00 pm on Election Night for Everyone!

Last Name: Smith Locality: Loudoun

Thank you for the opportunity to comment. The most important aspect of any election is that the people have had a fair chance to vote and have confidence in the outcome. Allowing votes to arrive 3-days after the election is over and still be counted does not inspire public confidence in the outcome of the election. Good people will say doing that just enables bad people to determine how many votes are needed to flip the results. Requiring a post mark on or before the day of the election is not effective. Because absentee ballots come with pre-paid envelopes that don’t get stamped at the post office. Many people don’t realize that there is also a tremendous cost placed on our county election offices as they must now get election officers, volunteers, and staff to come in for three days after the election to handle late arriving ballots. People who request an absentee ballot should be responsible to either mail it in time to arrive by election day, or drop it off themselves at the election office. Allowing ballots to arrive 3-days after an election is over and still be counted was a process put in-place because of the pandemic. The pandemic is over. It’s time to get back to where we were which is getting your vote in on or before election day. I urge you to vote yes on HB 956.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

Please move to report HB54, 149, 175,310, 398, 441, 945, 956.

Last Name: Shea Locality: Stafford

HB 1090 I am strongly opposed to reinstating the requirement to provide a photo ID in order to cast a ballot in Virginia. During the last election and I was handing out information, a distraught elderly woman and told me she was refused her right to vote because she had no photo ID. I was able to tell her that a photo ID was no longer necessary if she had some official document with her name and address on it. Fortunately, she had a utility bill with that information. She returned to the polling station, showed it to the worker and was able to vote. As she left the building, she told me that she was too old to drive and had no ID with a photo on it, so she was thrilled to learn that her right to vote had not been taken from her. Please don't deprive elderly citizens from exercising their constitutional right to participate in our democracy.

Last Name: Kimberlin Locality: Fredericksburg

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.

Last Name: Marie Locality: ARLINGTON

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.

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.

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