Our View of the Legislature: Voting

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The disAbility Law Center of Virginia supports the rights of individuals with disabilities to be able to vote in a manner that is accessible and easily available. We promote more accessible polling places and better options for early and mail-in voting to enable as many to be able to vote as they want to.

The legislature is considering several bills that would impact the right to vote, including:

Voter Identification Requirements – there are several bills that would require stricter means of proving identity, which can pose an obstacle to people with disabilities who do not have a driver’s license.

Photo ID bills were defeated in the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections. SB 794 and SB 900 (both from McDougle) and SB 968 (Peake) would have required a photo ID to be able to vote.

HB 1444 (Ware), requiring a photo ID to vote, was approved by the House Committee on Privileges and Elections and now goes to the full House. HB 1467 (Wyatt) was tabled by the House Committee on Privileges and Elections subcommittee.

Early Voting

HB 1877 (Scott) limits early voting to 14 days before the election. It was approved by the House and now moves to the Senate committee. The Senate equivalent, SB 880 (McDougle), was defeated in Senate Privileges and Elections.

Mail-in Ballots

HB 1948 (Bloxom) removes the requirement for a witness signature on a mail-in ballot, to be replaced with the last four digits of the voter’s social security number or a unique identifier issued by the registrar. The bill was amended and approved by House Privileges and Elections and is now before the full House.

The House has passed legislation that removes the option of having drop-boxes for absentee ballots. HB 1693 (McGuire) now goes to the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections, where we expect it to be defeated.

Curbside Voting

HB 2049 (Bennett-Parker) limits curbside voting to those whose disability prevents them from entering the polling place but expands the definition of disability including any permanent or temporary disability. (Under current law, the disability is limited to a permanent or temporary physical disability.) The bill will be heard in House Privileges and Elections, which does not meet again until Friday. If the bill has to be referred next to House Appropriations for consideration of the budget impact, it is too late for this bill. However, the preliminary analysis of the bill is that there is no fiscal impact.

The disAbility Law Center of Virginia is available to educate policymakers about the potential impact of legislative proposals. Please let us know of any issues that you think we should be following. Contact us at ga@dlcv.org or info@dlcv.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.