Virginia

Articles about voting issues in Virginia.

Virginia: State auditors to review Virginia elections agency after IT troubles | Richmond Times-Dispatch

State auditors will review the Virginia Department of Elections after a series of technical problems that have raised questions about the reliability of the software that powers the state’s voter system. Last month, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission approved a resolution instructing its staff to conduct an in-depth review of the elections agency, which hasn’t been fully studied in almost 20 years. During that span, the agency implemented VERIS, the information system that local elections officials say has been spotty and slow. The IT problems have mostly meant headaches for the registrars who use the system. For the most part, they haven’t disrupted the election process, but a surge of would-be voters trying to register for the presidential election caused the registration website to crash right before the registration deadline. That failure prompted a federal judge to order the reopening of the state’s voter registration period to accommodate those who had been locked out. Read More

Virginia: Yo Voté: Communities Scramble to Translate Ballots | Stateline

In this community center turned polling place, Juan Sanchis stands near an electronic ballot reader with a smile on his face, waiting. Many of the voters filing into the Willston Community Center, in a diverse pocket of Fairfax County, don’t speak English very well. When it seems like the voters don’t understand, Sanchis switches over to Korean or Spanish, or gets a worker who speaks Vietnamese. Around him on the tables and walls, pamphlets and signs are translated into all three of those languages. “If they need help understanding, that’s what I try to do,” Sanchis said earlier this month, as Virginia primary voters went to the polls to choose candidates for a variety of state and local offices. As the country grows more diverse, more local governments like Fairfax County, a Washington, D.C., suburb, are falling under a federal election law that requires them to provide language assistance — including translators and translated election materials — to certain minority groups that are heavily represented in their communities. Dozens of communities were added to the list for the first time in December, sending local officials in those communities scrambling. Read More

Virginia: Disabled voter describes ‘dehumanizing’ treatment at polls | New Leader

For Lee Ann Kinkade, of Staunton, going to vote on Election Day is magical, she says. She’s filled with “bipartisan patriotism” on these days, excited to participate in the nation’s democratic process. But as Kinkade, who’s disabled, headed into Gypsy Hill Park Gym on Tuesday to vote in the governor primaries, she instead said she felt “dehumanized” by the treatment she received from one of the poll workers. With her disability, her hands shake and she isn’t able to fill in the bubbles on the paper ballots, she said. There’s assistive equipment for this though that makes it possible for disabled voters to make their election selections while keeping their ballots confidential. Read More

Virginia: Political parties at odds over voter ID laws | The Virginia Gazette

Voter identification laws are a hot issue in Virginia and across the country. Republicans say such laws combat voter fraud, which they insist is widespread. Democrats say the laws discourage voting by minority and elderly citizens who may be less likely to have a photo ID. The debate has played out in Virginia, where Republicans control the General Assembly and a Democrat is governor, with few signs of a compromise. In 2013, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1256, which required Virginia voters to present a driver’s license, passport or other photo ID in order to cast a ballot. The bill — which was signed into law by then-Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican — also provided free photo IDs to citizens who needed one. Read More

Virginia: McAuliffe vetoes bill on voter registration requirements | Richmond Times Dispatch

Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would require registrars to deny applications by people who leave out certain details, such as whether they are 18 years old. McAuliffe also vetoed the House version of legislation to extend coal tax credits, terming the credits ineffective. House Bill 298, sponsored by Del. Terry G. Kilgore, R-Scott, was identical to Senate Bill 44, which McAuliffe vetoed March 11, the last day of the General Assembly session. Del. Mark L. Cole, R-Spotsylvania, sponsored House Bill 9, which sought to specify in greater detail information applicants are required to provide on the voter registration form. Read More

Virginia: Complaints over potentially illegal political ads in limbo as Virginia elections agency stops issuing guidance | Richmond Times-Dispatch

As they prepared to take up roughly a dozen old complaints of illegal political mail or signs, members of the Virginia State Board of Elections complained Monday that they were flying blind because the state agency they oversee stopped offering guidance on whether the ads in question did or didn’t violate the law. The lack of staff analysis and recommendations, coupled with lengthy delays between when complaints come in and when they come up for review, left one board member openly wondering whether the state is doing enough to police political campaigns. Board members also raised concern about receiving limited details about the cases — many dating back to the November election and some over a year old — on Friday afternoon for a Monday morning meeting. Read More

Virginia: Charlie Crist applauds Terry McAuliffe for beating his record on restoring voting rights | Florida Politics

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he had broken the record for restoring voting rights to convicted felons, calling it his “proudest achievement” as governor. And Charlie Crist is leading the cheers applauding the move. McAuliffe boasted Thursday he had individually restored rights to 156,221 Virginians, surpassing the previous record-holder — Crist — by a nose. As governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011, Crist restored voting rights to 155,315 felons, according to figures that McAuliffe’s office obtained from Florida. Read More

Virginia: McAuliffe says he has broken U.S. record for restoring voting rights | The Washington Post

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Thursday that he had broken the record for restoring voting rights to convicted felons, calling it his “proudest achievement” as governor. McAuliffe (D) said he had individually restored rights to 156,221 Virginians, surpassing the previous record-holder by a nose. As governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011, Charlie Crist restored voting rights to 155,315 felons, according to figures that McAuliffe’s office obtained from Florida. Today Crist, who has evolved from Republican to Independent to Democrat, is a freshman member of Congress. His spokeswoman, Erin Moffet, said Crist would not mind seeing his record fall. “I know my boss would congratulate Governor McAuliffe on the work he’s doing in his state, as well,” she said. Read More

Virginia: Attorney general declines to issue opinion on voting machine security in Botetourt | Roanoke Times

The state attorney general’s office has declined to issue a legal opinion on whether it’s a conflict for a Botetourt County elected official to share office space with the voting machines to be used in the next election. The county’s electoral board sought the opinion last month, after questioning whether it should continue to store the machines in the same Fincastle building where Commonwealth’s Attorney Joel Branscom recently relocated his office. Although no one suggested that Branscom or his staff would tamper with — or even touch — the machines, election officials said they were concerned about the appearances of the new arrangement. Read More

Virginia: Richmond judge upholds 11 legislative districts challenged in gerrymandering lawsuit | Richmond Times-Dispatch

A Richmond judge issued a ruling Friday upholding the constitutionality of 11 state legislative districts that were challenged as being designed for political purposes. The ruling by Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant is a setback for redistricting reform advocates in Virginia. The lawsuit was backed by the reform group OneVirginia2021. The decision will likely be appealed. Marchant heard evidence during a three-day bench trial in March relating to five state House districts and six state Senate districts drawn by the Virginia General Assembly in 2011. Read More