Virginia

Articles about voting issues in Virginia.

Virginia: Election changes coming after ‘fraud’ in petitions circulated by GOP candidate’s staffers | WTOP

After a Virginia judge kicked an independent congressional candidate off the ballot due to apparent fraud driven by staffers for Republican Rep. Scott Taylor, the State Board of Elections is set to make changes Monday meant to avoid certifying certain false petitions in the future. The Department of Elections had signed off on Shaun Brown having enough valid signatures to qualify as an independent for the ballot in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District in the Hampton Roads area and Eastern Shore. But an investigation by WHRO Radio then found staffers for Brown’s former opponent had collected hundreds of the signatures, many of which appeared to be faked. A judge in Richmond later found there had been “out-and-out fraud” on Brown’s petitions. The Taylor staffers signed affidavits stating they would take the fifth if they were called to testify.

Full Article: Va. election changes coming after ‘fraud’ in petitions circulated by GOP candidate’s staffers | WTOP.

Virginia: Governor Northam threatens veto over GOP redistricting plan | The Washington Post

Gov. Ralph Northam warned Tuesday he would veto a redistricting plan that Republicans in Virginia’s House of Delegates hope to approve this month. The lawmakers are set to consider new legislative boundaries in response to a federal court’s ruling that 11 House of Delegates districts were racially gerrymandered. House Speaker Kirk Cox ­(R-Colonial Heights) said earlier Tuesday that he would summon lawmakers on Oct. 21 to take up a plan passed out of committee on a party-line vote last week. If the legislature fails to act by Oct. 30, judges at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia will handle the redistricting themselves.

Full Article: Va. Gov. Northam threatens veto over GOP redistricting plan - The Washington Post.

Virginia: House panel backs GOP redistricting bill on party-line vote | Richmond Times-Dispatch

An attempt to find a bipartisan compromise on political redistricting culminated Thursday in a pair of party-line votes by a House of Delegates committee. It endorsed a new Republican plan, while killing a bill proposed by Democrats in a battle for control of the closely divided chamber before elections next year. The House Privileges and Elections Committee voted 12-10 to endorse a bill that Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, introduced a day earlier, with a promise of some Democratic support. Jones said it was an effort to break an impasse in finding a legislative solution after a federal court found that 11 House districts were racially gerrymandered. Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler, D-Virginia Beach, one of six Democrats whom Jones said he had approached for support, voted against the bill. She also voted against a move by the Republican-controlled panel to kill the Democratic redistricting plan that Del. Lamont Bagby, D-Henrico, had introduced on Aug. 30.

Full Article: Va. House panel backs GOP redistricting bill on party-line vote | State News | newsadvance.com.

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.

Full Article: Va. House GOP releases redistricting proposal it says is 'race blind'; Democrats reject it as 'empty rhetoric' |

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.

Full Article: Virginia spends none of $9 million grant on midterm election security | wusa9.com.

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.

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.

Full Article: House GOP says it’s working on redistricting plan, gives tentative timeline | Virginia Politics | pilotonline.com.

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.”

Full Article: Review finds Virginia elections agency had culture of 'open support for one party over the other' | Virginia Politics | richmond.com.

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.

Full Article: Richmond judge finds 'out-and-out fraud' in effort by Rep. Scott Taylor staff to get independent on ballot | Virginia Politics | richmond.com.

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.

Full Article: GOP House speaker appeals redistricting ruling to high court.

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.

Full Article: Hopewell electoral board stands by new registrar's decision to approve ballots with some names in capital letters | Hopewell | richmond.com.

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.

Full Article: Northam calls special session for legislature to redraw districts - The Washington Post.

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).

Full Article: First new Va. election results audit held in Fairfax city | WTOP.

Virginia: Voter Roll Purges Attract Scrutiny | WVTF

In the last presidential election cycle, almost half a million more people in Virginia were purged from the voter rolls than the previous election cycle. That change comes even as election officials used a faulty database to delete voters who allegedly moved. Jonathan Brater at the Brennan Center for Justice says Virginia is one of four states that has conducted illegal purges. “In recent years, we have seen Virginia attempting to remove higher numbers of suspected non-citizens from the voter rolls. But it turns out that many of those people actually are citizens.”

Virginia: Campaign’s Election Data Exposed in Virginia | Infosecurity Magazine

A Virginia-based political campaign and robocalling company Robocent left hundreds of thousands of voter records on a public, exposed and unprotected Amazon S3 bucket. This year has already seen a lineup of attempted attacks on local elections and campaigns, but this news comes less than a week after the indictment of 12 Russian officials for meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. According to an 18 July blog post by Bob Diachenko, head of communications at Kromtech Security, Robocent’s self-titled bucket was reportedly “indexed by GrayhatWarfare, a searchable database where a current list of 48,623 open S3 buckets can be found. Repository contained both audio files, with pre-recorded political messages for robocalls dials (*.mp3, *.wav), and voter data (*.csv, *.xls files).”

Full Article: Campaign's Election Data Exposed in Virginia - Infosecurity Magazine.

Virginia: House GOP asks U.S. Supreme Court to delay court-ordered redistricting in racial gerrymandering case | Richmond Times-Dispatch

Lawyers for Republican leaders in Virginia’s House of Delegates have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt a court-ordered redistricting process as they appeal a recent ruling on racial gerrymandering. Attorneys working with House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, filed a notice of appeal with the high court on Friday, indicating they intend to fight an Oct. 30 deadline to redraw the House electoral map to correct racial imbalances in 11 legislative districts. Late last month, a federal panel made up of district and appellate judges ruled that the House violated the U.S. Constitution by packing African-American voters into certain districts already drawn to favor the election of African-American Democrats.

Full Article: Va. House GOP asks U.S. Supreme Court to delay court-ordered redistricting in racial gerrymandering case | Virginia Politics | richmond.com.

Virginia: Federal court rules Virginia state House districts unconstitutional | The Hill

A federal court on Tuesday ruled that Virginia’s legislative districts were gerrymandered along racial lines and ordered the state to come up with a redistricting plan by the end of October. In a 2-1 ruling, the judges for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that state lawmakers must redraw lines for state House districts by Oct. 30. “Overwhelming evidence in this case shows that, contrary to this constitutional mandate, the state has sorted voters into districts based on the color of their skin,” Judge Barbara Milano Keenan wrote in the majority opinion.

Full Article: Federal court rules Virginia state House districts unconstitutional | TheHill.

Virginia: More misassigned voters found in Virginia, Board of Elections separately to correct November results | WTOP

Virginia’s Department of Elections has found even more voters likely assigned to the wrong districts across the state following tight House of Delegates races last fall, including one tie determined by a random drawing, where the problem could have determined control of the chamber. The department has helped several local registrars and electoral boards identify misassigned voters since the significant issues were revealed following November’s election, according to a presentation set to be given Tuesday to the State Board of Elections. Northern Virginia registrars had already confirmed hundreds misassigned to the wrong state, federal or local districts just in this area. The House of Delegates ended up split 51-49 in favor of Republicans.

Full Article: WTOP | More misassigned voters found in Va., Board of Elections separately to correct Nov. results.

Virginia: On primary day in Virginia, officials say they’re preparing for more cyberthreats against elections | StateScoop

As five more states hold primary elections Tuesday, one of the biggest concerns in this year’s voting cycle continues to be how secure ballot systems are. But the lead elections official in Arlington County, Virginia, is confident votes there will be counted without issue. “We have a practical, low-key approach,” said Linda Lindberg, Arlington’s director of elections. Arlington is a bit of a model citizen for how jurisdictions conduct elections. Lindberg’s “practical” hews closely to what many ballot-security advocates call for: recording votes on paper ballots, which are then counted by optical scanners. Lindberg said her office also conducts routine tests of its equipment and scans its voter-registration system for vulnerabilities.

Full Article: On primary day in Virginia, officials say they're preparing for more cyberthreats against elections.

Virginia: Fairfax County registrar fired days before midterm primary | WTOP

Less than two weeks before Virginia’s midterm primaries, the electoral board in the state’s most populous jurisdiction has fired its general registrar. The Fairfax County Electoral Board formally fired Cameron Sasnett Friday evening. He had been appointed in October 2015 and had 13 months remaining in his statutory four-year term. “Enough things came to our attention and kind of came to a head to the point where we felt we needed to let him go, and you can imagine, especially less than two weeks from an election, this is not a good time to do something like this. But we felt like we needed to do this,” Electoral Board Chairman Steve Hunt said.

Full Article: Fairfax Co. registrar fired days before midterm primary | WTOP.