Public Comments for 02/08/2021 Privileges and Elections
SB1097 - Absentee voting; witness signature not required.
Last Name: Howard Organization: Virgina Beach Tea Party Locality: Virginia Beach

ELECTION INTEGRITY: IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE SB 1097 repeals the requirement for witness signatures when absentee ballots are opened and recorded this is a gateway to voter fraud. VOTE NO on SB 1097.

Last Name: Rivers Organization: self Locality: Henrico

I strongly support passge of SB1097 to eliminate the requirement of witness signature for absentee voting. This requirement is unnecessary (we have other anti-fraud measures already in place) and only serves to suppress votes by people who have physical or other barriers to in-person voting. We have to do all we can to wipe away the insidious efforts to prevent people from voting. Period.

Last Name: Ebel-Nuwayser Locality: Alexandria, Fairfax County

Please pass SB 1097. I volunteer with an organization that helps people vote for the first time. Many live in shelters, have just received housing or are still living on the street. They already face many challenges to access the polls including being unable to get themselves there in person and either having no permanent address or having recently moved. These folks do not have family connections, friends or even casual contacts. Finding a witness to sign a form to submit a vote by mail is an undue impediment to their right to vote. Finding a witness to sign an absentee ballot makes voting by mail harder for the more than a quarter of Virginia voters who live alone — including the elderly, minority group members, people with disabilities, rural residents, and low-income voters. It also disproportionately affects Black voters, who are more likely to live alone. There are already numerous protections in place to assure the security and integrity of absentee voting. Such as: *social security number and address when registering to vote *submitting personally identifying information to receive a ballot *unique bar codes on return envelopes *ballots recorded when received Witness signatures were not required due to Covid and there was no rash of voter fraud that accompanied the suspension of that requirement. There is no reason to require them for any election.

Last Name: Whitlock Locality: Louisa

I oppose SB1097, SB1239, SB1245, and SB1246 because I believe they go in the wrong direction. They may sound great, but they only promote further separation from an individual's civil responsibilities during an election and adds responsibilities and costs to the localities, general registrar, and local election officials. Re: SB1097 particularly, I can understand how requiring a witness could be prohibitive in some situations. However, I am curious: why was it required in the first place? Does that mean that reason no longer exists? To remove a standard of voting integrity for political reasons only would be wrong. These proposals rely heavily on the postal system. I don't think I even need to explain all of the reasons why that is flawed. And so many proposed variations in deadlines: hours, days, and even weeks are changed. These "improvements" could easily lead to questionable verification, voting, and counting, as well as another election process that goes on for months. Moreover, the General Assembly already significantly changed election law last year: for example, eliminating ID/verification in some cases and expanding the list of acceptable voter ID in others; allowing more time for ballots to arrive, be "corrected!," and be counted; allowing same-day voter registration, and automatically sending applications to all people on an annual absentee voter list. Why focus on absentee ballots now? These bills are unwieldy, dilute the integrity of our election process, and reflect current politics rather than secure elections for posterity. Finally, I see more and more people mentioning "our democracy." The United States of America was founded as a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Perhaps, that's where the opposing views start.

Last Name: Kanter Cohen Organization: Fair Elections Center Locality: Montgomery Co, MD

Fair Elections Center supports SB 1097 because this bill would make absentee voting more accessible and make it easier for voters to cast a ballot that counts. Fair Elections Center is a national, nonpartisan voting rights and election reform organization which works to remove barriers to registration and voting for traditionally underrepresented constituencies. Formed in 2017 to continue the work of the Fair Elections Legal Network, the Center works to improve election administration through legislative, legal and administrative reform, to protect access to the ballot through litigation, and to provide election law expertise, voter information and technical assistance to voter mobilization organizations. In 2020, among other work, Fair Elections Center brought litigation in a number of states to protect the right to vote by mail in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. SB 1097 would remove the requirement to include a witness signature with the voted absentee ballot. The witness requirement is a barrier to voting and is unnecessary because absentee voting is secured in multiple, more effective ways. For example, Virginians supply personal identification information when registering to vote and when identifying themselves to vote absentee. The requirement is harmful to the many Virginians with disabilities, many of whom have significant mobility impairments. For that reason, it is difficult for many qualified voters to locate and coordinate a witness. Particularly at a time when many at-risk voters are continuing to self-isolate due to the pandemic, the witness requirement poses an unnecessary risk to both health and voting rights without any added benefit. Fair Elections Center urges you to move this bill forward. If you have any questions or need further information, please contact Michelle Kanter Cohen, Senior Counsel, Fair Elections Center, (202) 331-0114, mkantercohen@fairelectionscenter.org.

Last Name: Johnson Locality: Chesterfield

Witnessing an absentee ballot is very difficult for many and any impediment such as this only hurts the elderly and those who cannot get access to someone to witness.

Last Name: DeRosa Organization: League of Women Voters - VA Locality: Arlington

We need to make the no-witness-requirement permanent. Voters should be able to vote safely and securely at home without having to search for a witness who will watch the voters mark their ballots. Please pass SB1097. Full voter access!

Last Name: Clewett Organization: Lewinsville Faith in Action Locality: Fairfax County

Please support SB1097. To strengthen our democracy, and ensure the fairness of our elections, we must do everything we can to make voting available to all qualified voters. Eliminating a burdensome and unnecessary witness signature requirement will further that goal. • More than a quarter of eligible Virginia voters live alone – especially those who are poor, elderly, disabled, minority, or rural – and a witness requirement makes it significantly harder, if not impossible, for them to vote by absentee ballot. And yet that may be their only practical option, since many of them have no reliable access to transportation. • We already have thorough safeguards against abuse of the absentee voting process, as Ms. Wake of the League of Women Voters has explained. A witness requirement does not improve ballot security; it only disenfranchises vulnerable voters. • All those who support American democracy should work to make voting easier and more universal. Eliminating unnecessary burdens is a step in the right direction. Please vote YEA on SB1097. Thank you.

Last Name: Wake Organization: League of Women Voters of Virginia Locality: Fairfax County

Good morning Chairperson Van Valkenburg and members of the committee. I'm Deb Wake, president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia. Thank you for the opportunity to speak in favor of SB1097 to remove the barrier of requiring a witness for an absentee ballot. In order to request an absentee ballot, a voter must do several things to prove their identity: provide their name, birthdate, social security number, and locality. The applicant, whether online or on paper, must acknowledge that they are who they say are, under penalty of law. The ballot then arrives at the address where the voter had registered to vote--which is a separate process--and another means for the Department of Elections to confirm the voter is who they represent themself to be. When the voter signs Envelope B for returning their ballot, they testify by signing that they do so under penalty of law. The penalty--for both the application and the return of the ballot--is a class 5 felony punishable by 1-10 years in prison. The witness requirement is nothing more than a barrier to a qualified voter. The witness signature can be a stray mark--it is not confirmed in any way. However, for more than a quarter of Virginians age 18 and older who live alone--including the elderly, minorities, those with disabilities, those in rural communities or those with a lower income—finding a witness can be an especially difficult barrier. My daughter recently told me that it was difficult finding a roommate home or other person to witness her ballot when away at college. This discourages voting. During a pandemic, the witness requirement also constitutes a health risk. So you see, many safeguards exist to confirm a voter's identity. The witness requirement is unnecessary, irrelevant and does nothing more than suppress voting. Please support SB1097 to remove this impediment. Thank you

Last Name: Miller Organization: disAbility Law Center of Virginia Locality: Richmond

the disAbility Law Center of Virginia supports this legislation. As many polling places are not fully accessible to people with disabilities, some have no choice but to vote by mail. The requirement to find a witness to that ballot can act as a barrier to voting for people with disabilities who live independently.

Last Name: Caywood Organization: none Locality: Virginia Beach

Please support SB1097 to remove the witness signature requirement from absentee ballots. For people who live alone and are in COVID high risk categories, this can be a serious barrier to voting. For example, I have a friend who lives alone and is recovering from cancer surgery. She is in the tiny sliver of Virginia Beach that is in HD90 and because the waiving of the signature requirement was only for the November election, the requirement was back in force when the special election was held Jan. 5th. Moreover, the signature proves nothing - the witness doesn't have to know the voter or see ID to prove that the person voting is the one to whom the ballot was mailed. All the requirement does is keep people from voting or force them to take extra risks to vote. The process of applying for an absentee ballot has plenty of built in security, to which the witness adds nothing.

Last Name: Barker Organization: N/A Locality: Chesapeake

Re: SB1097, witness signatures have on real purpose other than as a means of disqualifying ballots. They should be eliminated. Re: SB1157, moving Municipal elections to November would greatly increase turnout. that is always a benefit to the proper exercise of democracy. The election date should be moved. Re: SB1245, Absentee balloting is being done successfully throughout the nation. It should be no excuse, with easy ability to drop off a ballot before or on Election Day.

Last Name: Wolff Locality: Hampton

You must OPPOSE this bill. This proposed action will only further degrade voting rights and election integrity in Virginia.

Last Name: McKiernan Organization: Virginia Election Administrators Locality: Rappahannock

During the course of your duties, when considering our (Election Administrators/General Registrars/Directors of Elections) request to finally be paid commensurate with our duties after 29 years of added duties without corresponding compensation, please keep in mind that every election law that is passed adds to our duties. There were over 69 NEW Election laws last year in the midst of a pandemic and the most grueling, contentious election cycle EVER. Every election law passed without funding jeopardizes our ability to get it all done due to lack of resources, staff, funding and time. The loss of any of the experienced, dedicated General Registrars because of compensation is a travesty and is likely to become a reality without the appropriate compensation. Please correct this inequity in compensation THIS SESSION. 1. Adjust compensation brackets in accordance with state studies (2 of them) 2. resume 100% reimbursement of NEW base salary to localities 3. Make it happen THIS session. We have earned it. We are the ones out here taking the abuse as a result of unfounded accusations and insinuations. Please understand that the 133 General Registrars statewide who count votes, compile results, verify results, process absentee by mail ballots, and so much more, do so with bi-partisan observers (sent by local political committees!!) and sworn election officials every.single.step! NOTHING is done in secret. EVERYTHING is reviewed and verified by a three member board (Electoral Board) representing both political parties. These board members are nominated by the local political committees and signed off on by a panel of judges! WE are not the enemy and the more you present laws insinuating that something is shady, the more you erode voter confidence on both sides of the aisle! The fact that a bill has passed the house to ADD SUNDAYS to early voting should be enough reason to pay us appropriately itself. We work 100s and 1000s of hours of overtime yet aren't paid equally and aren't valued equally to our fellow county government counterparts. The longer you ignore this and pass over doing the right thing, the more you send the message to your constituents, candidates, and fellow delegates that elections aren't important to you. NOW is the time to make this right.

SB1109 - Voter referendum; issuance of state general obligation bonds for school facility modernization.
No Comments Available
SB1111 - Elections; preservation of order at the polls, powers of officers of election.
Last Name: McKiernan Organization: Virginia Election Administrators Locality: Rappahannock

During the course of your duties, when considering our (Election Administrators/General Registrars/Directors of Elections) request to finally be paid commensurate with our duties after 29 years of added duties without corresponding compensation, please keep in mind that every election law that is passed adds to our duties. There were over 69 NEW Election laws last year in the midst of a pandemic and the most grueling, contentious election cycle EVER. Every election law passed without funding jeopardizes our ability to get it all done due to lack of resources, staff, funding and time. The loss of any of the experienced, dedicated General Registrars because of compensation is a travesty and is likely to become a reality without the appropriate compensation. Please correct this inequity in compensation THIS SESSION. 1. Adjust compensation brackets in accordance with state studies (2 of them) 2. resume 100% reimbursement of NEW base salary to localities 3. Make it happen THIS session. We have earned it. We are the ones out here taking the abuse as a result of unfounded accusations and insinuations. Please understand that the 133 General Registrars statewide who count votes, compile results, verify results, process absentee by mail ballots, and so much more, do so with bi-partisan observers (sent by local political committees!!) and sworn election officials every.single.step! NOTHING is done in secret. EVERYTHING is reviewed and verified by a three member board (Electoral Board) representing both political parties. These board members are nominated by the local political committees and signed off on by a panel of judges! WE are not the enemy and the more you present laws insinuating that something is shady, the more you erode voter confidence on both sides of the aisle! The fact that a bill has passed the house to ADD SUNDAYS to early voting should be enough reason to pay us appropriately itself. We work 100s and 1000s of hours of overtime yet aren't paid equally and aren't valued equally to our fellow county government counterparts. The longer you ignore this and pass over doing the right thing, the more you send the message to your constituents, candidates, and fellow delegates that elections aren't important to you. NOW is the time to make this right.

SB1148 - Elections; date of June primary election.
No Comments Available
SB1153 - Absentee voting; ballots to be sorted and results to be reported by precinct.
Last Name: Boyle Organization: Virginia Association of Counties Locality: Richmond, VA 23219

VACo would request that this legislation not move forward without an accompanying appropriation of funds to assist localities in purchasing the equipment that would be needed to implement this requirement in a manner that would minimize potential errors and voter confusion. It is our understanding that this requirement would necessitate precinct-specific ballots for all elections, which for localities with more than a few precincts would likely require the purchase of “print-on-demand” machines to generate the correct precinct-specific ballot for each voter, or a very challenging process involving extensive printing of different ballot styles and careful tracking to ensure the correct ballot is given to each voter. Given current budget uncertainties, localities would be challenged to comply. We would recommend that the state assist localities with the resources needed to comply should it proceed with this requirement. Thank you for your consideration.

SB1157 - Municipal elections; shifting elections to November.
Last Name: Caywood Organization: none Locality: Virginia Beach

Please vote yes on SB1157. After Virginia Beach moved local elections to November a couple of decades ago, turnout improved and people paid more attention to local issues. Our elected bodies became more diverse. Sadly, my friends in Norfolk and Chesapeake pay more tax money to hold low turnout May elections and frequently have little choice on their local ballots. Separate local elections are a barrier to voting for people with busy lives and limited means. The Commonwealth neds to encourage voting and remove barriers. Consolidating elections in November will help. Thank you for all you have already done to mak voting easier!

Last Name: Barker Organization: N/A Locality: Chesapeake

Re: SB1097, witness signatures have on real purpose other than as a means of disqualifying ballots. They should be eliminated. Re: SB1157, moving Municipal elections to November would greatly increase turnout. that is always a benefit to the proper exercise of democracy. The election date should be moved. Re: SB1245, Absentee balloting is being done successfully throughout the nation. It should be no excuse, with easy ability to drop off a ballot before or on Election Day.

Last Name: Worley Organization: CPS Locality: Chesapeake

To ensure that as many voices as possible are heard, to ensure that costs are contained, and to ensure that ALL citizens are involved in this Democratic process, the Local May elections should be moved to November when all other elections are held. Thank you, Dr. Charlotte Worley

Last Name: Kanoyton Organization: Hampton NAACP Locality: Hampton

I signed up to speak and didnt get a link yesterday email finds you well! The Hampton Branch NAACP urge you to please support SB117. Times have changed and the next generation of voters are more astute to local, state and federal issues and not interested in voting multiple times in a year. Historically,turn out is always low in local elections. Localities will ultimately save up to 100k a year by not having a May election. The additional funds could help increase resources for November elections. We are reminded that the current council were elected by the low voter turn out electorate. Times have changed.

Last Name: Pons Organization: City of Williamsburg Locality: Williamsburg, VA

The City of Williamsburg urges you to vote against moving all locality elections to November. SB 1157 will forever alter the relationship the local elections in Williamsburg have the electorate. The City has long believed that having independent local elections from national elections is crucial to keeping the focus on local issues of concern. The City values its commitment to non-partisanship. We do not include party affiliation on our local ballots, and the candidates run without party identification. The City does not involve itself in national stage political issues that often have partisan drivers. Moving the local elections to November provides the opportunity for the City’s need for elected officials motivated by a desire to serve the community to be overshadowed by partisan issues. Proponents of the November local election model offer that it will enable less likely success for incumbents and will increase voter turnout. It is likely that voter turnout would increase, but it would not be due to greater interest in local matters. It would be a reflection of how the state or national races drive greater voter participation and mobilization by the parties to stimulate voters. This past May the City of Williamsburg held an election that resulted in a multi-term incumbent loss. This is attributable to the candidates diligently educating the electorate on the issues of importance and having their dedicated attention to encourage participation in the election. Competing with national platforms will make it more difficult for local candidates to focus on local issues and for voters to be informed. Voters driven by party concerns will likely be less informed about local issues and ill prepared to make local candidate comparisons based on platforms. Having an informed electorate is important to our form of government, especially at the local level. Another argument posed for moving May local elections to November is a cost savings for the localities and state. While, it is true that fewer voting events mean less cost for the locality and state, the City of Williamsburg believes that the May local election's cost is well justified to be sure that the issues of most relevance are the basis for the vote. Please vote to keep local elections a local decision. Virginia has not benefited from “one size fits all” legislation in the past, and this will be another example. Localities deserve the autonomy to regulate local elections. Thank you for your time and consideration of this important issue. Douglas Pons, Mayor, City of Williamsburg

Last Name: Ritter Organization: - None -Citizens of Chesapeake Locality: Chesapeake

Good afternoon, Thank you for taking my comments. I would like to reinforce the presentation you will hear from Chesapeake's Mayor, Rick West. I, too, hope to have an opportunity to speak, but understand the restraints on your valuable time and important work. 17 Virginia cities and over 100 Virginia towns hold local elections. The top reason for May elections is to give our voters an opportunity to focus on local issues that truly affect their daily lives. I like to say "there are no politics in potholes." Holding the local elections in November would cloud important issues that may be unique to a City or Town. Every locality has the opportunity to change the election dates based on the desires of their citizens as opposed to a mandate they have not asked to be imposed. For a candidate challenging incumbents, breaking through to achieve name ID and issue positions would be an expensive and intense challenge. When looking around the Commonwealth, the biggest changes voters make is in May when the can use their votes to replace incumbents who have not fulfilled their expectations. For a challenger to raise enough money to fund a campaign and overcome name ID's enjoyed by incumbents would be difficult. The new voter access laws you passed in 2020 encourage stronger turnout. We saw that in our local 2020 election when 15,000 more voters participated. As our citizens become more comfortable with the process, those numbers will surely continue to grow. As a representative of the Citizens of our City, I encourage greater participation and value the opportunity to hear and understand voter concerns about our local issues like the education of their children and grandchildren; the need for better access to mental health services, protecting the environment and to create a City of opportunity for all ages to name a few. I ask you to please listen to the voices across our Commonwealth to support local issues staying local and trust our voters to make the choices in a non-partisan manner based on issues. Debbie Ritter

Last Name: Mayor Trivett Organization: Town of Ashland Locality: Ashland

Good Afternoon Honorable Delegates, The Ashland Town Council urges you to deeply consider some very real side effects with SB1157 in mandating local governments move our elections from May to November. It is my understanding that those supporting this bill are doing so because it may have the effect of increasing voter turnout. We believe that is not a good trade-off as it works against good public policy. More turnout, a noble goal, but this particular bill has unintended consequences that we believe outweigh whatever gains to voter turnout this bill may be achieved. The Town of Ashland is a democratically voting blue dot in what is otherwise a staunchly red conservative community of Hanover County. Even within that dynamic I was unanimously chosen by my democratic leaning peers on Town Council to serve as Mayor even though I tend to lean more to the conservative side of things. The reason I was chosen as Mayor, and the reason we accomplish so much for our community is because partisan politics play absolutely zero role in how we operate local government. We don’t run for office with an R or a D in front of our names; instead we run as neighbors and friends all debating how to make Ashland a better place to live and work. We genuinely believe the partisan politics that play out in such an ugly way on the national and state level has no place in local government. Unfortunately, by moving elections to November to coincide with national and state elections the State will force the introduction of some of the poisons of strictly partisan politics into our local elections. We know that many in our nation simply vote an all Republican or Democrat ticket rather than evaluating whether a candidate is trustworthy, open minded, or willing to compromise. These are the types of characteristics candidates for local office in Ashland are evaluated on and not positions on immigration, second amendment rights, or abortion. Please help us keep it that way by opposing SB1157. A small, but important other part- Party's want to field good candidates, ones that will not embarrass. Local elections is a 'vetting process' of sorts to help Party decisions when endorsing or funding candidates. This bill eliminates this helpful process. If you need evidence of additional support for this position, please read this letter submitted to the Richmond Times Dispatch from Mayor David Meyer of Fairfax City and Mayor Linda Colbert of the Town of Vienna. They clearly outline additional rationale for opposing SB1157. If you need additional support for policies and legislation to increase voter turnout we are here to work with you in that effort. We believe this noble goal can be achieved without the introduction of partisan politics into local government.

Last Name: Peterson Locality: Chesapeake

Please vote yes to move our local elections to November.. not only will it save money $$ ! The turnout from November elections is definitely needed. Case in point -- Chesapeake School Board. Chesapeake spent nearly $146,000 for the May 2020 election, in which only 21 percent of registered voters showed up. Have a great day!

Last Name: Rodriguez Organization: Berryville Town Council Locality: Berryville

Hello - I am writing on behalf of the Berryville Town Council, as its Ward 4 representative. Last evening, we unanimously endorsed the dissemination of a letter to Gov. Northam and our General Assembly representatives (Sen. Vogel and Del. LaRock) expressing our opposition to SB 1157. Below please see an excerpt from our letter below. Dear. Gov. Northam, The Town Council strongly opposes any effort to force Virginia's municipalities to move their elections from May to November. Such a move would serve to inject both national and state politics into local elections. Moving local elections to November will also result in the muting of local issues. Our elections are about Town issues, not the fights in Washington and Richmond, and it is in the best interest of the citizens of Berryville that it stays that way. It is also important to note during May elections Berryville's voters cast their ballots at one precinct. If local elections are moved to November, then Berryville's residents will be voting in five different precincts, some of which are located miles from Town. Thank you for your consideration of the Berryville Town Council's position in this regard. Please keep the decisions on local elections to local residents. Kara C. Rodriguez Ward 4 Representative Berryville Town Council

Last Name: Crocker Locality: York

Please consider voting yes on SB1157. The remaining localities that hold May elections are doing a disservice to their communities, as these elections result in a clear reduction in voter turnout. The numbers are astounding. For example, in May 2016, Hampton’s local May elections saw only 16.8% voter turnout, while November elections in Hampton the same year for federal offices saw 65.6% turnout. Similarly, May 2018 local elections had only 14.3% turnout, while November 2018 had 53.1% turnout. We can increase civic participation, reduce voter suppression, AND save taxpayer money by moving local elections to November. Please vote yes on this bill.

Last Name: Varner Locality: Virginia Beach

Good day, I am told that many Blacks and other people of color do not engage as much in the early voting cycles, which is a blessing for certain political groups and presents a challenge for other political groups. While it seems that there is a concern that our Republicans benefit from having different election dates, and our Democrats may benefit from a same-day election, I firmly think that the citizenry would benefit from having a single time period to focus on. The policy decisions made by our political public servants impact everyone, and the deciding date(s) should be designed in a way that seems to attract the greatest amount of voters. Additionally, this move will save Virginians funds that might be better spent on other opportunities. Vote to support SB1157. We are paying attention and well react accordingly. Seko Varner

Last Name: Harris-Braxton Organization: Virginia First Cities (VFC) Locality: Richmond

VIRGINIA FIRST CITIES - WRITTEN COMMENTS TO S.B. 1157 (SPRUILL) NOVEMBER ELECTION BILL I am commenting on behalf of the Virginia First Cities Coalition (VFC) in opposition to SB 1157. Our coalition of 16 member cities has 7 members that currently hold their city council/school board elections in May. These members are Danville, Hampton, Lynchburg, Newport News, Norfolk, Staunton, and Williamsburg. These cities want to make decisions about their elections and keep their local election schedule exactly where it is --- in May. Our remaining members have made conscientious, community-engaged decisions to amend their charters and change their election dates to November. This worked well for them. The one thing that all 16 of our members are agreed on is that SB 1157 be opposed because it overrides our local charters. This is the primary reason why Virginia First Cities feels very strongly that SB 1157 belongs in the Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns, as this is the proper committee of jurisdiction for bills affecting city charters. Many of our members with May elections have expressed their strong belief that local elections should be focused on non-partisan local issues. May elections do provide a much better opportunity to focus in on local governance issues and concerns and not be usurped by what is happening in the national and statewide political arena. The Code of Virginia does allow citizens the ability to request a local referendum to choose when elections are held. Senate Bill 1157 is a state mandate that ultimately takes control from citizens and elected officials closest to the citizenry. We have witnessed a refreshing approach in the last two sessions to the so-called “Christmas tree bills” and a relaxing of the Dillon Rule, allowing local governments to opt-in or opt-out of a variety of legislative efforts. We were, quite surprised that SB 1157 would summarily, in one fell swoop, say that we cannot have May elections --- that they must be held in November. We feel assured that if there were a groundswell of citizens wanting this change, local governments would be responsive. Nine members of Virginia First Cities have changed their dates. However, for the seven cities that have not, we implore you to please allow them to retain the authority to move to November elections if it is what their citizens want. We ask that you please oppose SB1157.

Last Name: Sturtevant Locality: Newport News

The local elections should be moved to November. This will help cut down funding for the city as well as increase voter turnout. In addition, it will give minorities and the elderly in the community a chance to register and vote.

Last Name: Long Organization: N/A Locality: Newport News

Virginia 2020 session, our legislators passed major voter reform legislation: “No excuse” Absentee Voting, Election Day as a state holiday, and automatic voter registration. It was my understanding that we had an issue that needed to be addressed: encouraging voter participation in our democratic process. All too often as voters, we hear the mantra - “local elections matter”, but do they when we have several localities across the state where less than 15% of the electorate vote in May elections? By voting against SB1157 you are suggesting low voter participation is not an issue; because a year ago when faced with other voting obstacles this state legislature voted to correct those deficiencies. The fundamental principle of a democracy is for the people by the people. When we look at data that shows less than 15% of the electorate vote in May in comparison to 60% of the electorate in November, how can we truly say local elections meet the standards of a democracy. Do local elections really matter?

Last Name: Finch Locality: Hampton

SB 1157 would move Virginia’s anti-democratic, low-turnout May elections to November. This would save taxpayers money, make voting more convenient and less confusing for voters, and encourage massively more people to participate in local elections, since November turnout is far greater than May turnout. This is also a social justice issue, since the fraction of voters who turn out in May tend to be whiter, wealthier, and older than November voters. Sadly, many local elected officials are advocating against this bill because it would make their re-elections more competitive. Please side with the PEOPLE in your district over the POLITICIANS in your district and vote for SB 1157! SB 1157 is supported by the VA NAACP, the VA League of Women Voters, the Virginia Civic Engagement Table, and voting rights organizations such as the Fair Election Center and the Advancement Project.

Last Name: Finch Locality: Hampton

SB 1157 would move Virginia’s anti-democratic, low-turnout May elections to November. This would save taxpayers money, make voting more convenient and less confusing for voters, and encourage massively more people to participate in local elections, since November turnout is far greater than May turnout. This is also a social justice issue, since the fraction of voters who turn out in May tend to be whiter, wealthier, and older than November voters. Sadly, many local elected officials are advocating against this bill because it would make their re-elections more competitive. Please side with the PEOPLE in your district over the POLITICIANS in your district and vote for SB 1157! SB 1157 is supported by the VA NAACP, the VA League of Women Voters, the Virginia Civic Engagement Table, and voting rights organizations such as the Fair Election Center and the Advancement Project.

Last Name: Schaffner Locality: Norfolk

SB1157: I support changing local elections to November to increase turnout and make local officials more responsive to their constituents. SB1245: Absentee voting should be encouraged and expanded. The cure process for any errors should be streamlined and highly accessible. SB1246: Absentee ballots should be processed as soon as practical.

Last Name: Magruder Locality: Newport News

As a long time poll worker I can attest that elections held in May serve no purpose in furthering voter participation. When a candidate can win with just 5 to 10 percent of a city voting it amounts to little oversight by the citizens they are supposed to speak for. The costs ara extremely high to run the elections based on per vote amounts. I also know that the city councils and school boards are going against most of the board of elections including in Newport News. We rely on the board of elections to recruit and man the polls and only they know the resources they need to run more than one election. The general assembly should listen to the boards and the many volunteers called upon to run the very scared act of voting .

Last Name: Sutterfield Organization: None Locality: City of Fairfax

To start with the lesser objection to May elections, the expense of running such small contests is so trivial that you should dismiss out of hand this argument for a November consolidation. If “turnout is everything” as a reason to move local elections to November, why does VA continue to have its state-wide elections in odd years? The turnout is certainly lower than if conducted in presidential years, but you, as winners of these elections, seem willing to accept the tradeoff. Perhaps you understand that , though fewer citizens will vote in November 2021 than in November 2020, they will be very likely better informed about state issues, unattracted and undistracted by federal issues, candidates, or automatic party loyalty to national parties. Your campaigns are no doubt less expensive in the odd year: no out-of-state names crowding the ballot; more attention to your personal virtues and reputations; more play for competence over ideology. . . .of course, some local and regional issues will inevitably divide, but national head-buttings will recede, and stormwater and school roof repair are not partisan. For these same reasons, we local elected officials would prefer not to spend more time, money, and effort trying to bring our concerns to our constituents over the noise and partisanship of state/national elections. Please leave us alone to do our work. If you persist in this disruption, I believe that any change should take place AFTER the next cycle in 2022. We didn’t know in 2020 that we could have a six-month extension to our terms; local candidates should know when they run what they’re in for.

Last Name: Auguste Locality: Chesapeake

Greetings. Thank you for reading my statement. We may be in the year 2021, but at times it feels like we are in the 1950s and heading back to the days of "voter suppression." It is really sad that some politicians are concerned about their own interest rather than making sure all voters have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. The peoples' voices should be heard. The people want to vote and that can only happen if the May elections are held in November. Our democracy is at risk. No one can convince me that it is not. Look at everything that has taken place in Washington, D.C. and how our country has been turned upsidedown because of extremist groups and pure hate. Please don't allow the future of Virginia to be ruled by those that are able to control who shows up for the May elections. The local elections are very important. Yet, they are poorly advertised, students are in school and no one really knows the exacts dates. Therefore, voter turnout is extremely low. Not voting to change the May elections to November is agreeing to allow only an extremely small population to dictate who runs our local areas. Every voice should matter and every vote should count. Holding an elected office is a privilege to serve the people, NOT an entitled position. Let's try to make Virginia a better place for all. Right now, it is not and I know first hand. Thank you for your time. God Bless America, but most especially the Commonwealth of Virginia. Sincerely, Dr. Shirley P. Auguste Shirleypauguste@gmail.com

Last Name: Heath Organization: Town Of Marion VA Locality: Town of Marion

The Town of Marion opposes this bill as presented. We believe the decision should remain with localities. While there are advantages to showing larger numbers voting in local elections, it is not likely that consolidated all elections will best represent the true will of the people, since local elections here are nonpartisan. By allowing localized decision, the people can decide their council members without consideration of party affiliation- allowing a more diverse, and truly representative, elected local body of leadership.

Last Name: Jacobs Organization: Self Locality: Henrico

As someone who has worked at the local government level, I disagree with SB 1157 because it mandates when a local government may hold elections. It takes away a community’s ability to be responsive to local issues, whether it be police, fire/rescue, school board or street paving. Every year is an election year in Virginia, and the General Assembly should work towards improving access to polls in May and November, increasing early voting, improving absentee ballot and the voter registration process, not taking away cities and towns’ ability to be flexible and non-partisan.

Last Name: Rutherford Locality: Nelson

I support local governments making the decision for their municipality on what dates work best. I think it is critical we give as much authority as possible to local governance as they are more in tune with the needs and wants of their constituents.

Last Name: Knight Organization: Self Locality: Chesapeake

Good evening, Please consider casting your vote in opposition of SB 1157. There are those who opine SB 1157 increases voter access; however, I would argue that due to the sheer quantity of information voters could be asked to process, a singular Election Day would be more of an impediment to access than serve as a lever to universal access. Having to inform ourselves about the candidates for federal, state and local elections, as well as referendums is too much information to process with fidelity. Your fellow Virginians serve in many different capacities. We are parents, spouses, care-givers to our aging parents, full-time employees, members of our churches and civic organizations and volunteers in our communities. We deserve the opportunity to focus our attention solely on local elections. We are best served by those closest to us—our local leaders. I live and vote in Chesapeake and work in Virginia Beach and have listened to my friends and colleagues in Virginia Beach share they did not feel informed about the candidates in the local elections in November of 2020. Also noteworthy to mention my colleagues are some of the most informed, educated people I know—we are educators! Local candidates and referendums have a tendency to be hidden or overshadowed by “bigger” state and federal elections. Appreciate your time, consideration and service. Please oppose SB 1157. Kind regards, Jennifer Sharer Knight Chesapeake, Virginia

Last Name: Turner Organization: Self Locality: Suffolk

I rise in opposition to mandating that all local elections should be in November. While I live in a city that does have its elections in November, I believe this is the decision of each locality to decided with their citizens. This how the seed of local self-government is planted and maintain. I hope this committee rejects this bill and allow for Town and Cities to govern themselves.

Last Name: de Triquet Organization: Self Locality: Chesapeake

Other than out of respect for Senator Spruill, who I'm sure filed this bill with the best of intentions, I am unsure why SB1157 is being considered. It is my understanding that no locality has requested moving May municipal elections to November. While there are small pockets of the population that may be in favor of this, it is not a formal request from the majority of affected localities--or any one locality that I know of-- at this time. I am in favor of letting localities determine their own needs and desires when it comes to issues such as this one. And if, indeed, one locality has requested that its May elections move to November, it should not be imposed on everyone. Local candidates are lost in the shuffle when they are on the same ballot as Presidential and Senate candidates. Local issues, such as roads and schools, will be buried under partisan issues. This is clearly not in localities' best interests. It will not give us more responsive government , better schools, or better infrastructure. And isn't that what we all want? In November elections local candidates must raise more money to compete on the airways and in print. The concept of grassroots, independent candidates even having a chance of being heard is greatly diminished. Furthermore, the results of the Virginia Beach November 2020 election demonstrate that there was a steady decrease in the number of votes cast for down-ballot candidates. This translated into 75,000 fewer voters by the time people got to the at-large School Board races. It may have been "voter fatigue" or the fact that many people didn't even know there were local candidates! Just as each one of you would like to be sure your message is heard at election time, local candidates need to have the opportunity to present themselves to the people they hope to represent. I respectfully request that you consider my comments favorably. With best regards, Carole de Triquet

Last Name: Rapelje Locality: Falls Church

Members of the committee, It is deeply troubling to me that legislation is being considered, which would usurp the power of local residents in deciding when to hold local elections. In Virginia, we have municipalities who hold both May and November local elections. This issue has been decided by the residents of our various cities and counties. While I believe that residents should advocate for November elections if they wish to shift voting from May to November, this is rightly done at the local level and should reflect the different interests of each community. Many localities who choose to hold May elections do so because November elections tend to be caught up with discussion on State and Federal issues. May elections allow members of the community to focus on and discuss local issues and local solutions. For many communities in Virginia, this is preferable and allows them a greater opportunity to make informed choices on local elected officials. Virginians should retain that choice and be able to hold their elections in May if the community believes it is best. The General Assembly has no business disenfranchising communities, by stripping them of the right to make this decision on their own. Our voters and localities are more than capable of deciding in their own best interest on this matter, and I hope you will reject SB 1157, which takes power and the ability to make an informed decision away from local voters. Respectfully, Jessi Rapelje

Last Name: Wilson Locality: Newport News

SB 1157 would move Virginia’s anti-democratic, low-turnout May elections to November. This would save taxpayers money, make voting more convenient and less confusing for voters, and encourage significantly more participation in local elections, since November turnout is far greater than May turnout. This is also a social justice issue, since the fraction of voters who turn out in May tend to be whiter, wealthier, and older than November voters (https://www.governing.com/archive/gov-moving-municipal-elections-concurrent.html?fbclid=IwAR3NUtFBtKcqyLzLL1TBUA51rW_NIWH180FCjlZIP32CztyWz7nVaK4glHw). Sadly, many local elected officials are advocating against this bill because it would make their re-elections more competitive. Please side with the PEOPLE in your district over the POLITICIANS in your district and vote for SB 1157! SB 1157 is supported by the VA NAACP, the VA League of Women Voters, the Virginia Civic Engagement Table, voting rights organizations such as the Fair Election Center and the Advancement Project. Special thanks to my representative, Delegate Shelly Simonds, for doing exactly what her constituents “hired” her to do in co-sponsoring this bill. Bravo, Del. Simonds!

Last Name: Auguste Locality: Chesapeake

Please support changing May elections to November.

Last Name: Meza-Cervera Locality: Blacksburg

SB 1157 would move Virginia’s anti-democratic, low-turnout May elections to November. This would save taxpayers money, make voting more convenient and less confusing for voters, and encourage massively more people to participate in local elections, since November turnout is far greater than May turnout. This is also a social justice issue, since the fraction of voters who turn out in May tend to be whiter, wealthier, and older than November voters (https://www.governing.com/archive/gov-moving-municipal-elections-concurrent.html?fbclid=IwAR3NUtFBtKcqyLzLL1TBUA51rW_NIWH180FCjlZIP32CztyWz7nVaK4glHw). Sadly, many local elected officials are advocating against this bill because it would make their re-elections more competitive. Please side with the PEOPLE in your district over the POLITICIANS in your district and vote for SB 1157! SB 1157 is supported by the VA NAACP, the VA League of Women Voters, the Virginia Civic Engagement Table, voting rights organizations such as the Fair Election Center and the Advancement Project.

Last Name: Jones Organization: Myself Locality: Chesapeake

I work as a nurse and struggle to get to local elections. I have to schedule days off to vote. I am a constituent who is asking you to support SB1157 and Vote YES to shifting Virginia's remaining low-turnout May local elections to November. Consolidating these elections will also provide another day of education to our children, as most polling precincts are schools. Municipal elections should be consolidated to November so that more voters have a voice in their local government.

Last Name: Vause Locality: Newport News, VA

SB 1157 would move Virginia’s anti-democratic, low-turnout May elections to November. This would save taxpayers money, make voting more convenient and less confusing for voters, and encourage massively more people to participate in local elections, since November turnout is far greater than May turnout. This is also a social justice issue, since the fraction of voters who turnout in May tend to be whiter, wealthier, and older than November voters (https://www.governing.com/archive/gov-moving-municipal-elections-concurrent.html?fbclid=IwAR3NUtFBtKcqyLzLL1TBUA51rW_NIWH180FCjlZIP32CztyWz7nVaK4glHw). Sadly, many local elected officials are advocating against this bill because it would make their re-elections more competitive. Please side with the PEOPLE in your district over the POLITICIANS in your district and vote for SB 1157!

Last Name: McKiernan Organization: Virginia Election Administrators Locality: Rappahannock

During the course of your duties, when considering our (Election Administrators/General Registrars/Directors of Elections) request to finally be paid commensurate with our duties after 29 years of added duties without corresponding compensation, please keep in mind that every election law that is passed adds to our duties. There were over 69 NEW Election laws last year in the midst of a pandemic and the most grueling, contentious election cycle EVER. Every election law passed without funding jeopardizes our ability to get it all done due to lack of resources, staff, funding and time. The loss of any of the experienced, dedicated General Registrars because of compensation is a travesty and is likely to become a reality without the appropriate compensation. Please correct this inequity in compensation THIS SESSION. 1. Adjust compensation brackets in accordance with state studies (2 of them) 2. resume 100% reimbursement of NEW base salary to localities 3. Make it happen THIS session. We have earned it. We are the ones out here taking the abuse as a result of unfounded accusations and insinuations. Please understand that the 133 General Registrars statewide who count votes, compile results, verify results, process absentee by mail ballots, and so much more, do so with bi-partisan observers (sent by local political committees!!) and sworn election officials every.single.step! NOTHING is done in secret. EVERYTHING is reviewed and verified by a three member board (Electoral Board) representing both political parties. These board members are nominated by the local political committees and signed off on by a panel of judges! WE are not the enemy and the more you present laws insinuating that something is shady, the more you erode voter confidence on both sides of the aisle! The fact that a bill has passed the house to ADD SUNDAYS to early voting should be enough reason to pay us appropriately itself. We work 100s and 1000s of hours of overtime yet aren't paid equally and aren't valued equally to our fellow county government counterparts. The longer you ignore this and pass over doing the right thing, the more you send the message to your constituents, candidates, and fellow delegates that elections aren't important to you. NOW is the time to make this right.

SB1239 - Absentee voting; third-party absentee ballot assembly and distribution.
Last Name: Whitlock Locality: Louisa

I oppose SB1097, SB1239, SB1245, and SB1246 because I believe they go in the wrong direction. They may sound great, but they only promote further separation from an individual's civil responsibilities during an election and adds responsibilities and costs to the localities, general registrar, and local election officials. Re: SB1097 particularly, I can understand how requiring a witness could be prohibitive in some situations. However, I am curious: why was it required in the first place? Does that mean that reason no longer exists? To remove a standard of voting integrity for political reasons only would be wrong. These proposals rely heavily on the postal system. I don't think I even need to explain all of the reasons why that is flawed. And so many proposed variations in deadlines: hours, days, and even weeks are changed. These "improvements" could easily lead to questionable verification, voting, and counting, as well as another election process that goes on for months. Moreover, the General Assembly already significantly changed election law last year: for example, eliminating ID/verification in some cases and expanding the list of acceptable voter ID in others; allowing more time for ballots to arrive, be "corrected!," and be counted; allowing same-day voter registration, and automatically sending applications to all people on an annual absentee voter list. Why focus on absentee ballots now? These bills are unwieldy, dilute the integrity of our election process, and reflect current politics rather than secure elections for posterity. Finally, I see more and more people mentioning "our democracy." The United States of America was founded as a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Perhaps, that's where the opposing views start.

Last Name: McKiernan Organization: Virginia Election Administrators Locality: Rappahannock

During the course of your duties, when considering our (Election Administrators/General Registrars/Directors of Elections) request to finally be paid commensurate with our duties after 29 years of added duties without corresponding compensation, please keep in mind that every election law that is passed adds to our duties. There were over 69 NEW Election laws last year in the midst of a pandemic and the most grueling, contentious election cycle EVER. Every election law passed without funding jeopardizes our ability to get it all done due to lack of resources, staff, funding and time. The loss of any of the experienced, dedicated General Registrars because of compensation is a travesty and is likely to become a reality without the appropriate compensation. Please correct this inequity in compensation THIS SESSION. 1. Adjust compensation brackets in accordance with state studies (2 of them) 2. resume 100% reimbursement of NEW base salary to localities 3. Make it happen THIS session. We have earned it. We are the ones out here taking the abuse as a result of unfounded accusations and insinuations. Please understand that the 133 General Registrars statewide who count votes, compile results, verify results, process absentee by mail ballots, and so much more, do so with bi-partisan observers (sent by local political committees!!) and sworn election officials every.single.step! NOTHING is done in secret. EVERYTHING is reviewed and verified by a three member board (Electoral Board) representing both political parties. These board members are nominated by the local political committees and signed off on by a panel of judges! WE are not the enemy and the more you present laws insinuating that something is shady, the more you erode voter confidence on both sides of the aisle! The fact that a bill has passed the house to ADD SUNDAYS to early voting should be enough reason to pay us appropriately itself. We work 100s and 1000s of hours of overtime yet aren't paid equally and aren't valued equally to our fellow county government counterparts. The longer you ignore this and pass over doing the right thing, the more you send the message to your constituents, candidates, and fellow delegates that elections aren't important to you. NOW is the time to make this right.

SB1245 - Absentee voting; establishment of drop-off locations, ballot defects, cure process.
Last Name: Gerchick Organization: League of Women Voters of Virginia Locality: Delaplane

SB 1245 and 1246: The League of Women Voters of Virginia supports making permanent the temporary provisions for drop-off locations and ballot curing that effectively enhanced early and mail voting last year. Dropping off a ballot makes voting possible, not just convenient, for voters who cannot wait in long lines for work or personal reasons. Drop boxes are "secure and convenient, according to a CISA workgroup. Letting voters correct minor procedural errors will help them ensure their ballot is counted. During the 2020 general election, hundreds of qualified voters we able to "cure" their ballots successfully. SB 1246: Pre-processing and processing absentee ballots so that machine tallies are set to go when the polls close will expedite election results. This bill would also preserve the secrecy of the ballots and the anonymity of the voters. Almost every locality in Virginia already has a Central Absentee Precinct (CAP). CAPs are the most efficient way to process absentee ballots. Counting those ballots quickly will reassure the public that reported results of elections are accurate.

Last Name: Whitlock Locality: Louisa

I oppose SB1097, SB1239, SB1245, and SB1246 because I believe they go in the wrong direction. They may sound great, but they only promote further separation from an individual's civil responsibilities during an election and adds responsibilities and costs to the localities, general registrar, and local election officials. Re: SB1097 particularly, I can understand how requiring a witness could be prohibitive in some situations. However, I am curious: why was it required in the first place? Does that mean that reason no longer exists? To remove a standard of voting integrity for political reasons only would be wrong. These proposals rely heavily on the postal system. I don't think I even need to explain all of the reasons why that is flawed. And so many proposed variations in deadlines: hours, days, and even weeks are changed. These "improvements" could easily lead to questionable verification, voting, and counting, as well as another election process that goes on for months. Moreover, the General Assembly already significantly changed election law last year: for example, eliminating ID/verification in some cases and expanding the list of acceptable voter ID in others; allowing more time for ballots to arrive, be "corrected!," and be counted; allowing same-day voter registration, and automatically sending applications to all people on an annual absentee voter list. Why focus on absentee ballots now? These bills are unwieldy, dilute the integrity of our election process, and reflect current politics rather than secure elections for posterity. Finally, I see more and more people mentioning "our democracy." The United States of America was founded as a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Perhaps, that's where the opposing views start.

Last Name: Barker Organization: N/A Locality: Chesapeake

Re: SB1097, witness signatures have on real purpose other than as a means of disqualifying ballots. They should be eliminated. Re: SB1157, moving Municipal elections to November would greatly increase turnout. that is always a benefit to the proper exercise of democracy. The election date should be moved. Re: SB1245, Absentee balloting is being done successfully throughout the nation. It should be no excuse, with easy ability to drop off a ballot before or on Election Day.

Last Name: Schaffner Locality: Norfolk

SB1157: I support changing local elections to November to increase turnout and make local officials more responsive to their constituents. SB1245: Absentee voting should be encouraged and expanded. The cure process for any errors should be streamlined and highly accessible. SB1246: Absentee ballots should be processed as soon as practical.

SB1246 - Absentee voting; mandatory processing of returned absentee ballots before election day.
Last Name: Gerchick Organization: League of Women Voters of Virginia Locality: Delaplane

SB 1245 and 1246: The League of Women Voters of Virginia supports making permanent the temporary provisions for drop-off locations and ballot curing that effectively enhanced early and mail voting last year. Dropping off a ballot makes voting possible, not just convenient, for voters who cannot wait in long lines for work or personal reasons. Drop boxes are "secure and convenient, according to a CISA workgroup. Letting voters correct minor procedural errors will help them ensure their ballot is counted. During the 2020 general election, hundreds of qualified voters we able to "cure" their ballots successfully. SB 1246: Pre-processing and processing absentee ballots so that machine tallies are set to go when the polls close will expedite election results. This bill would also preserve the secrecy of the ballots and the anonymity of the voters. Almost every locality in Virginia already has a Central Absentee Precinct (CAP). CAPs are the most efficient way to process absentee ballots. Counting those ballots quickly will reassure the public that reported results of elections are accurate.

Last Name: Whitlock Locality: Louisa

I oppose SB1097, SB1239, SB1245, and SB1246 because I believe they go in the wrong direction. They may sound great, but they only promote further separation from an individual's civil responsibilities during an election and adds responsibilities and costs to the localities, general registrar, and local election officials. Re: SB1097 particularly, I can understand how requiring a witness could be prohibitive in some situations. However, I am curious: why was it required in the first place? Does that mean that reason no longer exists? To remove a standard of voting integrity for political reasons only would be wrong. These proposals rely heavily on the postal system. I don't think I even need to explain all of the reasons why that is flawed. And so many proposed variations in deadlines: hours, days, and even weeks are changed. These "improvements" could easily lead to questionable verification, voting, and counting, as well as another election process that goes on for months. Moreover, the General Assembly already significantly changed election law last year: for example, eliminating ID/verification in some cases and expanding the list of acceptable voter ID in others; allowing more time for ballots to arrive, be "corrected!," and be counted; allowing same-day voter registration, and automatically sending applications to all people on an annual absentee voter list. Why focus on absentee ballots now? These bills are unwieldy, dilute the integrity of our election process, and reflect current politics rather than secure elections for posterity. Finally, I see more and more people mentioning "our democracy." The United States of America was founded as a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Perhaps, that's where the opposing views start.

Last Name: Gerchick Organization: League of Women Voters of Virginia Locality: Delaplane

The League of Women Voters of Virginia supports SB 1246. Pre-processing and processing absentee ballots so that machine tallies are set to go when the polls close will expedite election results. This bill would also preserve the secrecy of the ballots and the anonymity of the voters. Requiring all localities to have a Central Absentee Precinct, or CAP, is the most efficient way to process absentee ballots. It is not a burden, as nearly every locality in Virginia already has a CAP. Efficient, secure handling of absentee ballots so that they can be counted quickly will reassure the public that the reported results of elections are accurate. We urge the Subcommittee to support SB 1246.

Last Name: Schaffner Locality: Norfolk

SB1157: I support changing local elections to November to increase turnout and make local officials more responsive to their constituents. SB1245: Absentee voting should be encouraged and expanded. The cure process for any errors should be streamlined and highly accessible. SB1246: Absentee ballots should be processed as soon as practical.

SB1281 - General registrar; qualifications, residency.
Last Name: Howard Organization: Voter Registrar's Association of Virginia Locality: Radford City

VRAV is very much in favor of Sen. Morrisey's Bill. This is one more step in easing prohibitive restrictions in employment of a General Registrar whose situation may have changed since initial employment, and to further help the Electoral Boards find and retain high quality people to administer a localities Elections.

Last Name: McKiernan Organization: Virginia Election Administrators Locality: Rappahannock

During the course of your duties, when considering our (Election Administrators/General Registrars/Directors of Elections) request to finally be paid commensurate with our duties after 29 years of added duties without corresponding compensation, please keep in mind that every election law that is passed adds to our duties. There were over 69 NEW Election laws last year in the midst of a pandemic and the most grueling, contentious election cycle EVER. Every election law passed without funding jeopardizes our ability to get it all done due to lack of resources, staff, funding and time. The loss of any of the experienced, dedicated General Registrars because of compensation is a travesty and is likely to become a reality without the appropriate compensation. Please correct this inequity in compensation THIS SESSION. 1. Adjust compensation brackets in accordance with state studies (2 of them) 2. resume 100% reimbursement of NEW base salary to localities 3. Make it happen THIS session. We have earned it. We are the ones out here taking the abuse as a result of unfounded accusations and insinuations. Please understand that the 133 General Registrars statewide who count votes, compile results, verify results, process absentee by mail ballots, and so much more, do so with bi-partisan observers (sent by local political committees!!) and sworn election officials every.single.step! NOTHING is done in secret. EVERYTHING is reviewed and verified by a three member board (Electoral Board) representing both political parties. These board members are nominated by the local political committees and signed off on by a panel of judges! WE are not the enemy and the more you present laws insinuating that something is shady, the more you erode voter confidence on both sides of the aisle! The fact that a bill has passed the house to ADD SUNDAYS to early voting should be enough reason to pay us appropriately itself. We work 100s and 1000s of hours of overtime yet aren't paid equally and aren't valued equally to our fellow county government counterparts. The longer you ignore this and pass over doing the right thing, the more you send the message to your constituents, candidates, and fellow delegates that elections aren't important to you. NOW is the time to make this right.

SB1331 - Absentee voting; accessibility for voters with a visual impairment or print disability.
Last Name: Gerchick Organization: League of Women Voters of Virginia Locality: Delaplane

The League of Women Voters of Virginia supports.

Last Name: Miller Organization: disAbility Law Center of Virginia Locality: Richmond

the disAbility Law Center of Virginia supports this bill. We thank Senator Reeves for helping to ensure that voters with vision and print disabilities have the same access to absentee ballots as all other voters,

Last Name: Caywood Organization: none Locality: Virginia Beach

When I managed a library for the blind, we used screen reader technology because people who lose their sight as adults rarely learn to use Braille fluently. I learned that voting is considered a matter of life and death by persons with disabilities. The Commonwealth has done a lot to make the voting process at the polls accessible, but until last year a blind person could not independently and secretly cast an absentee ballot. Last November, that changed. Now we need to make that change permanent. Please vote for SB1331 Absentee voting; accessibility for voters with a visual impairment or print disability.

SB1395 - Discrimination; prohibited in voting and elections administration, etc.
Last Name: Boyle Organization: Virginia Association of Counties Locality: Richmond, VA 23219

As discussed in previous subcommittee testimony on the companion House bill, while we appreciate the intent of this legislation, we are concerned about its application in practice, in particular the litigation to which it potentially exposes counties. More detailed comments have been circulated in a letter to Committee members.

Last Name: Craig Organization: LWV-VA Locality: Springfield

Chair and members of the committee, my name is Donald Craig. I am the co-chair of the Voter Access Committee of the League of Women Voters of Virginia, which has 14 Local Leagues, and members throughout Virginia. The League supports SB 1395 The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. In Virginia, decades of disenfranchisement of Black and Brown voters reverberate to this day. We owe it to future generations to remove barriers to voting. When the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, many states moved quickly to pass discriminatory voting laws, such as overinclusive voter roll purges and burdensome ID laws. Until and unless the Voting Rights Act is restored, we need a way to ensure new elections laws and practices will not negatively impact the rights of minority group members to vote. As a substitute for the federal protections that were stripped away, we ask you to cosponsor and pass SB1395. This bill is important to address a hole that has opened in voter protections, and we support the bill.

Last Name: Auguste Locality: Chesapeake

Please support changing May elections to November.

SB1422 - Voter registration; list of decedent transmitted by St. Reg. of Vital Records to Dept. of Elections.
Last Name: Kanter Cohen Organization: Fair Elections Center Locality: Silver Spring, MD

This bill should be amended to clarify that voters may only be removed when ALL the fields identified in statute match the voter list. Otherwise there is a risk of erroneous removals because many voters share a last name and birthdate.

Last Name: Howard Organization: Virgina Beach Tea Party Locality: Virginia Beach

We support SB1422 to purge the voter rolls of deceased individuals on a weekly basis, this will give our voter registrar the ability to update the roles in a timely fashion while not being overloaded with monthly reports t We Oppose SJ272 which lifts restrictions for those who have been convicted of a felony or adjudicated to be mentally incompetent. There is a process for restoration of rights for felons who have served there time, allowing a blanket gift of voting to felons serving time for violating the rights of others in unconscionable as is allowing mentally incompetent person to vote. There is nothing more important right now than to ensure election integrity.

SB1444 - Campaign finance reports; special report of pre-legislative session contributions.
No Comments Available
SJ270 - Constitutional amendment; marriage (first reference).
No Comments Available
SJ272 - Constitutional amendment; qualifications of voters and the right to vote (first reference).
No Comments Available
SJ275 - Constitutional amendment; public schools in the Commonwealth (first reference).
No Comments Available
SJ289 - Constitutional amendment; authority to grant perpetual easements to units of government.
No Comments Available
SJ310 - Constitutional amendment; length of regular sessions convened in odd-numbered years.
No Comments Available
SJ322 - Military-overseas ballots; electronic return of voted ballots, report.
No Comments Available
End of Comments