(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) Virginia Republicans have introduced legislation to reign in unsafe election procedures, like no-excuse absentee voting and ballot drop boxes, and Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias has already threatened to sue if the reforms become law, 13News reported.
During the 2021 election, Republicans won a 52-seat majority in the 100-member Virginia House of Delegates and have submitted 20 bills to improve election integrity. Democrats, however, still hold 21 seats in the 40-member Senate and can block all Republican-backed legislation.
Republican Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears has the power to break ties in the Senate, but Republicans would first need to convince a Democrat to vote in favor of their election legislation.
“I don’t think Democrats are going to be willing to let any of this get rolled back, even though Republicans will want to have the debate or try to do it,” political analyst Quentin Kidd said.
13News compiled a list of the state’s new election-integrity legislation:
- “HB 34 – Eliminates drop-off locations for absentee ballots
- HB 35 – Reinstates excuse requirement for absentee or voting by mail
- HB 36 – Repeals automatic absentee voter list and regular sending of ballots to voters
- HB 39 – Limits absentee voting to two weeks prior to the election
- HB 54 – Absentee ballots must be sorted and reported by precinct, not CAP
- HB 149 – Adds to witness requirement for absentee ballots, including address, social security number, date of birth
- HB 175 – Removes permanent absentee voting list, makes an annual absentee voter list
- HB 177 – Removes witness requirement, but replaces that with date of birth and SSN requirement
- HB 198 – Requires registrar to send notice at end of calendar year to absentee voter list members
- HB 310 – SSN requirement, repeals automatic absentee list, makes any ballot without a witness signature automatically void, ends prepaid postage on absentee ballots
- HB 441 – Requires registrars to report the number and results of absentee ballots by precinct
- HB 528 – Additional requirements for unsolicited absentee ballot applications
- HB 779 – Photo ID required, absentee voting only one week prior to Election Day, no absentee list, no absentee ballots counted after polls close
- HB 945 – Limits absentee voting to ten days preceding an election
- HB 956 – Requires absentee ballot to be received before the end of Election Day to be counted
- HB 1141 – Eliminates drop-off locations for absentee ballot
- HB 76 – Reimburses cities and counties for costs of absentee ballot processing
- HB 439 – Explanation of constitutional amendments included with absentee ballots
- SB 273 – Makes witness signature requirement optional with SSN or Drivers License”
Several bills with duplicate purposes have been removed from this list.
Elias threatened to crush these measures through lawsuits as part of the Democratic Party’s sue-til-blue method, which it used to alter election laws and win the 2020 presidential election.
If these are enacted, Virginia will be sued. https://t.co/KH3dVwbopL
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) January 18, 2022
Virginia’s no-excuse absentee voting law, combined with COVID-19 fearmongering, caused the number of absentee voters to spike from 192,397 people in 2017 to 2,687,304 people in 2020.