Richmond, Virginia—Today, members of the House Appropriations Committee voted 13-9 to advance Delegate Mark Sickles’ bill HB5103. Members of the Senate Finance Committee voted 11-5 to advance Senator Janet Howell’s SB5120, an identical version of the same bill earlier this morning. These bills would allow registrars to establish secure drop boxes for voters to return their absentee ballots, provide funding for prepaid postage for absentee ballots, eliminate the need for a witness to be present in order to vote by mail, and create a “cure” process for absentee ballots received in advance of the deadline for voters who did not correctly complete the required affirmation on the ballot envelope. If passed by the full House and Senate, these measures will make voting even safer and more secure as we navigate a major election during a pandemic.
“No one should have to choose between their health and making their voice heard in our elections. Providing voters more accessible opportunities to cast their absentee ballots will keep both voters and election officials safe by reducing foot traffic and crowding at voting locations,” Ashleigh Crocker, Communications Director at Progress Virginia, said. “The best way to protect the integrity of our elections is to ensure that voting is safe, secure, and accessible for all eligible voters. That means making sure voters have options to cast a ballot either by mail or in person while protecting those who are most vulnerable to coronavirus. We’re thrilled that the Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee have advanced these bills to ensure that voting from home is even safer and more secure than they were before.”