Voters Breathe Easier as House and Senate Pass Bills to Make Voting Safer and More Secure
Richmond, Virginia—Voters can feel secure in the knowledge that when they go to vote this election season, their vote will be safe and secure, as always. Members of the House of Delegates and State Senate voted to pass Delegate Mark Sickles’ HB5103 and Senator Janet Howell’s SB5120 this afternoon to ensure that every eligible voter’s voice will be heard in our elections this year, regardless of whether they want to vote absentee by mail, absentee in-person, or in-person on Election Day. Now the bills will crossover to be voted on again by the opposite chamber before becoming law.
“No one should have to choose between making their voice heard in our elections and protecting their health. By providing funding for ballot drop boxes, pre-paid postage for absentee ballots, creating a cure process to ensure every possible ballot can be counted, and eliminating the witness requirement for absentee ballots, every voter can feel safe in the knowledge that their vote will be counted, regardless of how they choose to vote this year,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “Our democracy is strongest when every vote is counted and we all have our say. That’s why we’re thrilled legislators have taken action to make sure that every voter has a safe and secure way to vote this year.”
HB5103 and SB5120:
- authorize local registrars to establish secure drop boxes for eligible voters to return their absentee ballots.
- provide $2M in funding for prepaid postage for voters to return their complete absentee ballots.
- 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.
- eliminate the need for a witness to be present in order for a voter to vote by mail.
These bills will crossover to be voted on by the opposite chamber before being signed into law.