Virginia voters may no longer get to wait until primary day to decide which party to vote in; absentee balloting or voter identification laws could change, and lawmakers could face term limits under a series of competing proposals in the General Assembly. The annual session runs only into late February, so action on the bills and proposed constitutional amendments must happen within weeks of lawmakers gaveling in on Jan. 11. The restoration of voting rights for felons is expected to be a significant issue in the session. Gov. Terry McAuliffe moved to restore the voting rights of more than 200,000 felons in June, but that was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court of Virginia. McAuliffe has since continued to restore rights at a smaller scale. Members of the General Assembly have introduced a series of proposed constitutional amendments that would automatically restore the right to vote for some or all felons after they have completed their sentences, or allow for a pathway to get those rights back. A proposal from a number of Democrats, including Del. Marcus Simon, D-Falls Church, would eliminate the state constitution’s restrictions on felons voting.
… Republicans — who control both houses of the General Assembly pending special elections Jan. 10 for two Senate seats — have argued that tighter restrictions on voting are needed.
Del. Buddy Fowler, R-Ashland, proposes requiring that a copy of a photo identification be submitted with any request for an absentee ballot, with another copy of a photo ID required to be sent in with the completed ballot. Like a similar bill filed by Sen. Amanda Chase, Fowler’s bill would provide an exception for military and overseas voters.
Full Article: Voting changes in Virginia proposed in Assembly | WTOP.