Despite calls from thousands of citizens who waited for hours in long lines to vote last November, members of the General Assembly killed five bills that would have allowed early voting. A House of Delegates subcommittee voted 5-2 against the measure, with five Republicans voting against the bills. The only bill approved was one allowing those 65 and older to vote early. Virginia Beach Registrar Donna Patterson got a lot of heat from residents on Election Day who waited for upwards of five hours in line. “We will go precinct by precinct and really try to figure out what we could have done for this election and what we can do in the future to prevent the lines from being that long,” Patterson told WAVY.com Nov. 13.
Two months later, she told 10 On Your Side she is disappointed that early voting with no excuse needed failed. “The way of voting is changing and we want to encourage people to vote and hopefully it will pass sometime in the future,” Patterson said.
Patterson worked with delegate Ron Villaneuva to get early voting accepted in Virginia, but his measure failed overwhelmingly with his fellow Republicans voting against him. “I am disappointed,” Villanueva said. “Next year, we are going to take another stab at it because we need to make the voting system more efficient.”