In the 2015 legislative session, the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee has tried to be nice to older people. But the same might not be said for the young registered voters who attend Virginia’s private high schools, religious schools and military academies — or for people whose form of voter photo identification was issued by one of several of the state’s social services agencies. A week after advancing a bill to allow people 65 and older to vote absentee without providing an excuse — a measure that passed the full Senate on Monday — the committee on Tuesday went a step further and advanced legislation that would allow voters age 75 and older to go to the front of the line at the polls on Election Day.
Senate Bill 853 easily passed the committee with a bipartisan vote and now heads to the full Senate for consideration. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Barbara A. Favola, D-Arlington, and Ryan T. McDougle, R-Hanover, would allow any qualified voter 75 or older, or a person with a disability, to request to go to the front of the line and cast a ballot from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The proposed rule would not apply to polling places at nursing homes, assisted living residences or continuing care communities, where a more substantial number of seniors are likely to cast ballots.
Senators on the GOP-led committee looked less favorably on Senate Bill 820 and Senate Bill 688, which would have allowed registered voters who are students at private secondary schools to use their school-issued photo ID cards to identify themselves at the polls.