A House subcommittee this morning rejected a bill that would allow Virginians to vote absentee without having to provide reasons for doing so. The legislation, sponsored by Del. Charniele L. Herring, D-Alexandria, was one of five proposals rolled together, all allowing qualified voters to cast absentee ballots in person without providing an excuse for not being able to vote on Election Day. Herring cited increasingly long lines while voting as one of the main reasons for the proposed legislation, especially for seniors who do not meet the definition of disability and are not able to stand for a long time. “This legislation would allow these individuals to vote and avoid the longs lines on election day,” Herring said.
Del. Alfonso H. Lopez, D-Arlington, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, added that many of his constituents have multiple jobs, making voting on a Tuesday more difficult. “The increased flexibility to vote absentee would increase access to democracy,” Lopez said.
Representatives of several civic organizations also spoke out in support of the bill, but the panel followed recommendations by voting officials expressing concern over the additional work that increased absentee voting would bring.