Three of this area’s state legislators are divided on whether they would support no-excuse, in-person early voting in Virginia to alleviate some of the long waits to vote that occurred on Election Day Nov. 6. Del. Charles Poindexter said Virginia’s current election system has worked well — “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said — and he sees some drawbacks to allowing voters to cast ballots early in person without an excuse. Del. Don Merricks said he would not be opposed to no-excuse, in-person early voting in concept, but a lot of logistical issues would need to be worked out. Del. Danny Marshall said he would favor such early voting if it could be done at registrar’s offices. State Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Glade Hill, could not be reached.
According to published reports, many voters in the state’s most populous cities and counties were standing in long lines well after the polls closed on election night Nov. 6. A Richmond Times Dispatch article quoted Virginia State Board of Elections Secretary Donald Palmer as saying there were long lines in Richmond, Arlington, Virginia Beach, Roanoke, Hampton and Fairfax County.
Virginia currently offers in-person and mail absentee voting but not no-excuse, in-person early voting. Voters must meet one of more than a dozen eligibility requirements to vote absentee.
The Virginia State Board of Elections website says absentee voting in person begins at least 45 days before most elections and ends on the Saturday before the election.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, in 32 states and the District of Columbia, any qualified voter may cast a ballot in person during a designated period before Election Day. No excuse or justification is required.
Full Article: Legislators debate early voting – Martinsville Bulletin.