A poll worker in Chesterfield had “I Voted” stickers at the ready in 2018. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)
Legislation allowing no-excuse, early absentee voting passed the General Assembly Thursday and heads for the governor’s desk.
Both versions allow registered voters to cast an absentee ballot without providing a reason starting the Saturday before Election Day. The regular absentee voting window — 45 days before Election Day and with an excuse — still stands.
However, the provisions don’t take effect until 2020.
“Voting is the most important way Virginians can make their voices heard,” Spruill said in a news release. “I am proud to champion legislation that provides additional voting options to make it more convenient and practical for working, eligible Virginians to cast their ballot. The passage of this bill is an excellent first step, but our work is not done. We must continue working to make voting easier and more accessible for all Virginians.”
Senate Democrats noted in a news release that several other voting rights bills died in committees this year, including one from Hampton Sen. Mamie Locke to get rid of the state’s photo I.D. requirement for voting; one from Portsmouth Sen. Louise Lucas to require the Board of Corrections to provide absentee voting and rights restoration information to certain inmates; and a constitutional amendment from both that grants a blanket right to vote, reversing the current requirement of not being convicted of a felony and not having been adjudicated to be mentally incompetent.
Several voting measures proposed by Democrats in the House met a similar fate, including extending absentee voting to people over 65, repealing the photo I.D. requirement and a form of automatic voter registration.
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