This year’s impending presidential election loomed large in a party-line vote by the State Board of Elections on Thursday to overhaul Virginia’s voter registration form to make it easier for Virginians to vote. In a 2-1 vote , the board adopted changes to the form, despite objections by local registrars who said they were blindsided when the proposed new form and revised regulations were posted at the beginning of this week. “This is not ready in any way, shape or form for prime time,” said Stafford County Registrar Greg Riddlemoser. He called it “foolishness” to adopt a new form just before a presidential election expected to increase voter turnout and registrars’ workload.
He was part of a board working group that considered changes to the form and regulations beginning last May, but was not consulted before the proposals were issued this week.
But officials in the administration of Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the new form is vital to improving voter participation in elections, which this year range from local races in towns and cities to the presidential contest and battles for seats in Congress.
“We don’t want as an administration to prevent eligible voters from being able to participate in the process,” said Edgardo Cortés, commissioner of the Department of Elections, who said the process collected comments from a wide range of the public, not just registrars.