When Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced plans to fund replacement voting machines with Rep. Scott Rigell, R- Virginia Beach, at his side, it looked like an unusual bipartisan accord on election matters. But the staff of both the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee recommend dropping McAuliffe’s plan — $1.7 million from the operating budget and borrowing $28 million through the sale of $28 million worth of Virginia Public Building Authority bonds.
Money is tight, as ever, and both the House and the Senate money committees are making pay raises for state employees a priority. On top of that, the House GOP leadership also wants to fund some healthcare and mental health safety net measures. Still, there may be more than just money at issue.
Matt Moran, spokesman for Speaker Bill Howell, notes that the General Assembly directed localities to phase out DRE (touch screen) voting machines back in 2007. “How to do so and how to pay for that has remained a local prerogative since then,” he said.