Articles about voting issues in Virginia.

Virginia: House GOP releases redistricting proposal it says is ‘race blind’; Democrats reject it as ’empty rhetoric’ | Richmond Times-Dispatch

Republican leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates unveiled their own redistricting plan Tuesday, saying their proposed map is “race blind” and would fix racial gerrymandering without giving either party a significant political advantage. The General Assembly has six weeks left to pass a new House electoral map after a federal court ruled over the summer that lawmakers unconstitutionally prioritized race during the 2011 redistricting process by drawing too many African-American voters into majority-minority districts. The 2011 map passed with bipartisan support. It remains to be seen whether the GOP-controlled legislature will pass a map before the Oct. 30 deadline set by the court. But the introduction of the Republican plan puts another option on the table ahead of a House elections committee meeting next week. The bill’s patron is Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle. Read More

Virginia: State spends none of $9 million grant on midterm election security | WUSA

Days after officials in Washington disclosed none of a $3 million grant is securing the District’s midterm election infrastructure, the same story played out across the Potomac – on a scale triple the size. Virginia received a $9 million grant from the federal government – a new investment designed to improve election security in the face of undiminished hacking threats. But the critical swing state with several competitive House races will spend none of the $9 million to prepare for the midterm elections, according to interviews and record requests reviewed by WUSA9. Read More

Virginia: Lawmakers Continue Work on Court Ordered Redistricting | Associated Press

Virginia’s House speaker has scheduled a meeting later this month to continue work on a court-ordered legislative map. GOP House Speaker Kirk Cox announced Wednesday that a House committee will meet Sept. 27. Republicans also filed a motion Wednesday asking a federal court to reject Democrats’ request that federal judges redraw 11 state House districts found to be unconstitutionally gerrymandered. A federal court ruled in June that lawmakers illegally packed black voters into 11 districts and ordered lawmakers to draw a new map by Oct. 30. Read More

Virginia: House GOP says it’s working on redistricting plan, gives tentative timeline | Virginian Pilot

House Speaker Kirk Cox said Wednesday that despite Democrats’ claims, his caucus is in “the advanced stages” of solving court-ordered redistricting and that his party has been “rebuffed” in private meetings with Democratic leadership. Addressing Attorney General Mark Herring’s request to have a federal court – instead of lawmakers – draw a legislative map, attorneys on behalf of Cox, R-Colonial Heights, and House Republicans said conversations between the two parties have continued despite Democrats’ claims of an “impasse.” They argued that lawmakers are following an appropriate timeline and accused Democrats and the governor of seeking political gain by asking a federal court to redraw the maps. Read More

Virginia: Review finds elections agency had culture of ‘open support for one party over the other’ | Richmond Times-Dispatch

A legislative review of Virginia’s Department of Elections has found that the agency had an “environment of open support for one party over the other” under leadership appointed by then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat. Staff from the General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission presented their findings Monday in a 75-page report that pointed to the perception of political bias and a faulty IT system as two key issues state lawmakers may want to address. Jamie Bitz, a chief legislative analyst for JLARC, said interviews with local voter registrars and state elections staffers showed there was “a perception of political bias that was reflected in decisions about certain policies and certain agency operations.” Read More

Virginia: Richmond judge finds ‘out-and-out fraud’ in effort by Rep. Scott Taylor staff to get independent on ballot | Richmond Times Dispatch

In a ruling with potentially serious ramifications for the re-election campaign of Rep. Scott Taylor, R-2nd, a judge on Wednesday found “out-and-out fraud” in signatures Taylor’s campaign staff gathered to help get an independent spoiler candidate on the ballot. Richmond Circuit Judge Gregory L. Rupe ruled that independent Shaun Brown should be removed from the 2nd Congressional District ballot. Campaign staffers for Taylor helped gather signatures required to get Brown on the ballot. Investigations by news media and the Democratic Party showed forged signatures, including from voters who had died or no longer lived in the congressional district. The judge’s ruling followed testimony in a civil lawsuit the Democratic Party of Virginia brought against state elections officials. Four Taylor staffers and a former campaign consultant signed affidavits invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to a series of questions about what happened. Read More

Virginia: GOP House speaker appeals redistricting ruling to high court | Associated Press

The Republican speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates has filed a formal appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn a court ruling that found 11 House districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered. A federal court ruled in June that lawmakers illegally packed black voters into the 11 districts and ordered lawmakers to redraw them by Oct. 30. Republicans say the districts are constitutional, and they filed noticed in July that they would appeal. House Speaker Kirk Cox’s appeal was filed Tuesday. Read More

Virginia: Hopewell electoral board stands by new registrar’s decision to approve ballots with some names in capital letters | Richmond Post Dispatch

After raised voices and pounding on the table, the Hopewell Electoral Board voted 2-1 on Tuesday to stand by its newly appointed registrar’s decision to create ballots that feature some candidates’ names in capital letters. In a heated debate in the back of the Hopewell registrar’s office, the board’s two Democrats stood by Registrar Yolanda Stokes after she submitted a draft ballot for November’s election that showed three Hopewell City Council candidates’ names entirely in uppercase. Stokes is overseeing her first general election after being appointed registrar in May. She previously served on Hopewell’s public housing board, but the City Council voted to remove her in 2013 after she clashed with other city officials who accused her of overstepping her role. Read More

Virginia: Governor calls special session for legislature to redraw districts | The Washington Post

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is calling the General Assembly into special session on Aug. 30 to redraw legislative districts that a federal court deemed had been racially gerrymandered. A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled on June 26 that the lines for 11 House of Delegates districts had been drawn with the purpose of concentrating black voters. The 2-to-1 ruling was a victory for Democrats, who hope that new district boundaries will help them retake control of the House for the first time in nearly two decades. Last year’s elections wiped out a 2-to-1 GOP advantage in the 100-seat House, leaving Republicans with a narrow 51-to-49 majority. Read More

Virginia: First new election results audit held in Fairfax city | WTOP

In a first for Virginia, elections officials gathered Thursday and Friday at the Fairfax County Courthouse to prove that election results from June’s primary were correct. The risk-limiting audit was for the Republican U.S. Senate primary results in the city of Fairfax. It was a demonstration of what could be done statewide in future elections as a statistical check to provide more evidence that the final results based on counts from ballot scanners are correct. The audits, when done for an entire election, are meant to show statistical confidence that the winner really won and the loser or losers really lost. Results of the first audit completed Friday showed the results of 69 randomly selected ballots scanned by a machine Thursday matched the hand count of those same ballots done Friday morning. (One ballot was selected twice by the random process). Read More