Ask Governor Northam to Improve No-Excuse Voting


Virginia is currently the second-most difficult state in which to vote, and during the 2019 General Assembly session, lawmakers rightly tried to address our restrictive voting laws. But they didn’t do nearly enough.

Senate Bill 1026 and House Bill 2790 would grant some voters easier access to the polls through no-excuse absentee voting, but if the governor signs these bills, some voters will be prioritized over others.

Ask Governor Northam to amend these bills to allow true no-excuse absentee voting for all voters.

Message Recipients:
Governor Northam

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Your Message

I am writing to urge you to amend Senate Bill 1026 and House Bill 2790 so we can finally have true no-excuse absentee voting in the Commonwealth. As passed by the legislature, these bills only make voting easier and more accessible for a select few. That is discriminatory.

SB 1026 and HB 2790 grant a seven-day voting privilege ticket only to those voters whose jobs, homes and circumstances permit them to appear at a registrar’s office in person to vote in the last week before an election. Meanwhile, voters who need to vote absentee in person outside the seven-day window or who must vote by mail continue to be required to provide an excuse. These arbitrary distinctions unfairly favor some voters over others.

Furthermore, requiring an excuse in order to vote absentee raises privacy concerns, since an absentee voting application is a public record that can be viewed by anyone who asks for it.

These bills should be amended back to their original language, as introduced by Sen. Lionell Spruill (SB 1026) and Del. Charniele Herring (HB 1641). These original bills would alleviate concerns about public disclosure of confidential information and promote elections equally accessible to all qualified voters. I urge you to recommend these amendments for consideration during the reconvened session and give the General Assembly another opportunity to expand the right to vote by passing true no-excuse absentee voting for all voters.


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