Virginia Repeals Voter ID Law, Makes Election Day a State Holiday
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a series of bills this past weekend that dramatically expand voting rights in the state, by eliminating its voter ID requirement, increasing access to early voting and making Election Day a state holiday.
“Voting is a fundamental right, and these new laws strengthen our democracy by making it easier to cast a ballot, not harder,” said Gov. Northam as he signed the bills.
“No matter who you are or where you live in Virginia, your voice deserves to be heard. I’m proud to sign these bills into law,” he said.
Virginia currently requires voters who wish to vote absentee to provide the state with a reason, from an approved list, why they are unable to vote on Election Day.
“Our democracy relies on equal access to the ballot box,” Herring said.
House Bill 19 and Senate Bill 65, sponsored by Delegate Joe Lindsey and Senator Mamie Locke, respectively, remove the requirement that voters show a photo ID prior to casting a ballot. Voter ID laws disenfranchise individuals who may not have access to photo identification, and disproportionately impact low-income individuals, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities.
House Bill 108 and Senate Bill 601, sponsored by Delegate Joe Lindsey and Senator Louise Lucas, respectively, make Election Day a state holiday, which will help ensure every Virginian has the time and opportunity to cast their ballot.
In order to maintain the same number of state holidays, this measure repeals the current Lee-Jackson Day holiday, established over 100 years ago to honor Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
“We need more access to the ballot box, not less,” Senator Lucas said.
House Bill 235 and Senate Bill 219, sponsored by Delegate Joshua Cole and Senator David Marsden, respectively, implement automatic voter registration for individuals accessing service at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office or the DMV website.
House Bill 1678, sponsored by Delegate Joe Lindsey, extends in-person polling hours from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
“Virginia’s photo ID law was designed to make it more difficult to vote,” Delegate Lindsey said. “It is past time we repealed this law.”
Majority Leader Herring thanked Gov. Northam “for his partnership in breaking down barriers to voting, and ensuring all Virginians have the opportunity to exercise this fundamental right.”
Also applauding the signing of the bills was Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, who called them yet another example of elections having consequences.
“This is the historic victory that volunteers and activists were working toward as they knocked on doors and made calls across the Commonwealth [during the 2017 and 2019 elections] — and it’s a reminder of the stakes we face this November,” Perez said.
“In recognizing the inviolability of our right to vote, Governor Northam and Virginia Democrats have forged a path toward shutting voter suppression out of our politics for good,” he continued. “From expanding absentee and early voting and passing automatic voter registration to making Election Day a state holiday, these are common sense solutions that voters should enjoy nationwide.”
In The News
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Republican candidate saw her vote lead dwindle to single digits Wednesday in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District as a dramatic recount moved toward a conclusion in a race that will help determine the size of Democrats’ majority in the House of... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — As coronavirus cases surge again nationwide the Supreme Court late Wednesday barred New York from enforcing certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues in areas designated as hard hit by the virus. The justices split 5-4 with new Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the... Read More
Throughout the 2020 election cycle a persistent narrative was just how divided the United States has become. But an as-yet uncalled House race in Iowa is taking the concept of a nation equally divided between Republicans and Democrats to a whole new level. Since Monday, the... Read More
HARRISBURG, Pa. - It wasn't the kind of breaking news one expected while scanning Pennsylvania's all news radio stations for word on the state certifying the 2020 election results. "Now back to our top story," one news anchor after another said over the course of the... Read More
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Bookvar certified the results of the 2020 presidential election Tuesday, after all 67 counties in the state certified their individual results late Monday night. A short time later, as required by federal law, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the... Read More
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin's partial presidential recount entered its fourth day Monday, with very few changes in vote totals as President Donald Trump's attorneys appeared to be focused on a legal challenge seeking to toss tens of thousands of ballots, including the one cast by... Read More