A partisan battle over absentee voting broke out Tuesday at a State Board of Elections meeting, with Republicans warning that a new policy has opened the door to electronic voter fraud and Democrats dismissing the charge as unverified and overblown. The concern was raised Tuesday evening at the end of what will likely be the last elections board meeting before the Nov. 3 General Assembly elections, when control of the state Senate will be up for grabs. The debate centered on a policy that allows voters to use electronically typed signatures to apply for absentee ballots. The policy was approved in May at the request of Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, who was facing a spirited primary challenge from Susan B. Stimpson.
The elections board agreed that the issue merited further discussion but decided against making any major rule changes because absentee voting is underway.
Several Republican officials from Fairfax County said they have seen an influx of electronically signed absentee applications coming from the same IP address. When voters were contacted about applications deemed suspicious, the officials said, some voters said they had not requested a ballot.