On Friday, Aug. 28, the Virginia General Assembly Senate and House of Delegates passed budget bills supporting safe elections during the pandemic. These bills are now heading for crossover, the next step in the Special Session of the Virginia legislature.
"The General Assembly is working to protect access to the ballot box for Virginia voters during the health crisis," says Deb Wake, president of League of Women Voters of Virginia. "Preserving public health and our democratic institutions are key. Secure drop off locations for absentee ballots is a proven, secure method of collecting votes."
"We have taken steps today to ensure we protect Virginians’ sacred voting rights from interference," says Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn. "There is nothing more vital to our democracy than the right to vote. Virginians deserve to have their voices heard this November.”
"This bill is critically important to make sure that all citizens who wish to vote have the opportunity to do so," adds Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds, chair of the Senate Privileges & Elections Committee.
“In a time where we must prioritize the public health of our citizens, this bill ensures no Virginian will be forced to choose between their well-being and the right to vote. I am grateful we can provide numerous options and flexibility for all voters in our communities,” says House bill sponsor Delegate Mark Sickles.
The General Assembly votes today advanced the governor's plans to let voters safely deposit their absentee ballots during the COVID-19 health crisis. More than 30 states already permit, or are passing measures for, secure drop-off ballot collection. These states use security measures ranging from in-person monitoring by election officers to remote surveillance of locked metal drop boxes in concrete.
The League of Women Voters also supports provisions for prepaid return postage on absentee ballots and enabling absentee voters to correct errors on their ballots. These will help ensure all voters can make their voices heard at the polls.
The League of Women Voters of Virginia applauds these important protections for voters and urges the General Assembly to swiftly finalize the bills.
For more information, visit the League of Women Voters of Virginia at https://lwv-va.org/ and on social media @lwvva and @leagueofwomenvoters.