Democrats comment on committee meeting on election readiness

virginia general assemblyGeneral Assembly Democrats made the following statements in response to today’s joint meeting of the House and Senate Committees on Privileges and Elections.

Said Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D – Henrico): “The purpose of this meeting was to discuss ‘election readiness.’ When asked, registrars testified that they are at least as ready this year as they were for the previous election. The Commissioner of our Department of Elections said much the same. I am grateful for their diligence.

“In the same way that Donald Trump has done, some Republicans on the committee co-opted this forum to sow doubts about the legitimacy of our elections. Their posturing supports the kind of irresponsible, dangerous rhetoric we have heard from Trump. They should be deeply, deeply ashamed.

“To best ensure secure, efficient elections, we should start by funding elections administration at adequate levels — something Republicans refused to do earlier this year.”

Said House Democratic Deputy Leader Del. Mark Sickles (D – Fairfax): “Donald Trump has been stoking baseless fears about our elections — because he knows that he’s losing. The Republicans who joined him today did a disservice to their constituents, to our Commonwealth, and to our country. The Commonwealth has been preparing for a large turnout this November, and our officials have done the best they can with the resources provided.

“Instead of fearmongering for political gain, we should be working together to help citizens vote. We desperately need to end hours-long lines and replace outdated equipment, but that takes adequate elections funding — which the General Assembly has refused to provide. Less than a month from Election Day, these seemingly politically-motivated complaints ring very false.

“We should congratulate Commissioner Cortez for bringing Virginia’s election management into the 21st century. It has come with growing pains, but we had nowhere to go but up after our poor performance in 2008 and 2012. It is unfortunate that some members made today’s hearing a partisan spectacle, questioning the integrity of Mr Cortez in doing an extraordinarily difficult job on a shoestring budget. I am committed to continual improvement of our voting systems. If we have shortcomings, there is plenty of blame to go around.”

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