Public Comments for 02/14/2023 Privileges and Elections - Subcommittee #1
SB944 - Elections; filling vacancies in Gen. Assembly, certain vacancies to be filled between 30/45 days.
The League of Women Voters supports SB 944. We encourage all efforts to codify the process for filling of vacancies in the General Assembly. These amendments remove partisan gamesmanship and help assure that all Virginians are represented in our General Assembly.
SB1150 - 2011 district descriptions; legal boundaries.
SB1180 - Elections administration; acceptance of certain services permitted.
The League of Women Voters of Virginia supports SB 1180. Throughout Virginia, in your Districts, League members assist in the registering of voters, using a process that is specifically qualified under Virginia statutory law as third party voter registration drives. The current version of this law creates an apparent conflict with section 24.2-416.6 of the Virginia Code. Third party voter registration drives are a service to voters, not to the election officials who register them. This amendment would resolve that apparent conflict. The restrictions in current law that prevent election officials from accepting funds and services from private sources, in practice, have proven to be too broad and vague to implement. In our written statement, we provide details on our experiences with the law’s impact and research on some of the erroneous underlying assumptions for passing the law in 2022. The additional proposed changes in SB 1180, which permit privately provided technical assistance, research or subject matter expertise, as well as private funds distributed through appropriations and other government distribution methods, are also important clarifying amendments.
SB1328 - Removal of officers; elected officers and officers appointed to elected office.
Dear Delegates, On behalf of the Virginia Grassroots Coalition, which represents more than 50 organization and 15,000 voters statewide, I urge you to vote in support of SB1328. The bill creates a more uniform recall process for Virginia elected officials. By limiting recall petitions to defined time periods and increasing the number of signatures necessary to trigger a recall proceeding, the bill more fairly focuses recall efforts on matters that concern a meaningful number of voters and helps ensure that the process is not misused. The changes recommended are in line with the recall processes in many other states. They are a common sense set of reforms to codify a recall process that is attainable and fair. The proposed process would not cause localities to incur additional costs. Specifically, SB1328 limits the window in which signatures may be collected to support a recall petition to avoid interfering with elections: 1. NOT within 75 days of a primary election or party nomination process in which the officer is a candidate; 2. If the officer is the winner of the primary election or party nomination process, NOT through the date of the next general election 3. NOT on the date of any general or special election in which the officer is a candidate; and 4. NOT for thirty days after the officer takes office, if the officer is the winner of a general or special election. Current law provides no guidance on the timing of petition signature collection, so petitions may be circulated at any time. SB1328 gives sponsors 90 days to gather petition signatures. Under current law, a petition for recall may remain open indefinitely, even if supported by few voters. SB1328 requires that the petition have signatures in an amount equal to at least 30% of the total number of votes cast in the last election for the office that the official holds. Current law requires that a petition have only a small number of signatures to trigger a recall proceeding: 10% of the number of votes cast in the last election for the office that the official holds. Because local elections may have low turnout, this means that recalls can be initiated by a very small number of voters. The changes proposed through SB1328 are in line with recall petition processes in most other states I ask that you vote in support of SB1328. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com. Sincerely, Dr. Luisa Boyarski Leader Virginia Grassroots Coalition
SB1442 - Conduct of election; abstract of votes, law-enforcement officer to obtain returns not forwarded.
SB1514 - General registrars; petition for removal.
I oppose SB 1514. Local Electoral Boards are the conduit for public involvement in the election process. They are the closest to the voting public. This policy will allow the SBE to leapfrog over the Electoral Board by going directly to the courts rather than first addressing the issue with the board as is currently required under the law. This diminishes the authority of the local board and by extension diminishes the voice of the local electorate. This policy also inserts the courts into the process by law rather than as a result of a grievance or dispute. The local Electoral Board has the authority to make this constitutional appointment, it should retain the authority of reappointment decisions. For these reasons, I oppose SB 1514
SB907 - Elections; protection of election officials, penalty.
The League of Women Voters of Virginia supports SB 907. While we believe it is unfortunate that our hard-working election officials and their employees need this protection, recent evidence shows that this bill is necessary.
The Virginia NAACP Supports this bill. Our election workers are the backbone of democracy. They must be protected.