Finally, early voting in Virginia?
Gov. Tim Kaine is backing legislation that would allow for no-excuse, in-person absentee voting in Virginia.
Patroned by State Sen. Janet Howell, D-Reston, and State Del. Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg, the legislation, styled SB 810, would allow Virginia voters to cast absentee ballots in person at their local registrar’s office during the 45-day absentee voting period without providing an excuse or reason.
“Virginia has a long history of running outstanding elections, but this year showed that high volume can cause problems in a process that should be as smooth as possible,” Kaine said. “By allowing all voters to cast an absentee ballot in person, we can remove some of the practical barriers that prevent people from participating in the democratic process.”
Twenty six other states currently offer a no-excuse alternative voting time.
“This expansion of absentee voting recognizes the realities of citizens’ busy lives and gives them more opportunity to engage in their civic duty,” Howell said. “An emergency at work or in the family on Election Day should not disqualify a person from participating in an election.”
“During the recent presidential election, many citizens were surprised to learn that they may be eligible to vote by absentee ballot,” Dance said. “Once informed, Petersburg went from about 600 residents voting absentee in 2004 to well over 3,500 in 2008. No-excuse absentee voting allows all voters even greater flexibility to exercise their right to vote in person at a time and place that is convenient.”