Category Archives: Electoral process

How to Rig the Redistricting Process with Nobody Noticing

Prison population. Source: Virginia Public Access Project

by James A. Bacon

While Virginia Democrats continue to batter Republicans with charges of “voter suppression,” they also continue to rig the electoral system to favor Democrats.

The national Census counts incarcerated persons at the correctional facilities where they are held. But a new Virginia law requires the state Redistricting Commission to assign prison inmates to their last known residential address, a move that will, in the words of the Virginia Public Access Project, “transfer political clout from rural to urban areas.” Unstated is the fact that it will also transfer political clout from Republican areas to Democratic areas.

The residence of an estimated 20,000 prisoners will be affected. Continue reading

Voter Suppression? Who? Us?

Click for more legible image.

Here’s what’s happening in Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial fund-raising fever dreams:

Republican candidate Pete [Snyder] announced his campaign is launching a Trump-style voter suppression operation. … And they’re hiring Trump-lackey Ken Cuccinelli to run it. … Pete Snyder is tapping Ken to run the same kind of racist, anti-democratic voter suppression operation Donald Trump ran.

And here’s what’s actually happening in the real world. From The Washington Free Beacon:

Virginia’s Department of Elections shut down its voter information portal for “scheduled maintenance” during the final day Republican voters in the commonwealth’s largest county were able to register for the party’s upcoming convention.

Continue reading

Virginia Democrats Govern in the Service of Dogma and Power

by James C. Sherlock

Karl Marx

Socialism and communism are so 19th and 20th centuries.  

Under socialism, individuals would still own property. But industrial production, which was the chief means of generating wealth, was to be communally owned and managed by a democratically elected government.

Socialists sought change and reform, but sought to make those changes through democratic processes within the existing social and political structure, not to overthrow that structure.  Socialism was to be based on the consent of the governed. Communism sought the elimination of personal property and the violent overthrow of existing social and political structures.

So what has changed for today’s progressives who have taken over the Democratic party, especially in Virginia? 

A lot. Continue reading

Remember the 38th!

T. Travis Hackworth

Congratulations to the citizens of the 38th state senatorial district — you have been re-enfranchised. Republican T. Travis Hackworth handily won the special election to replace former Sen. Ben Chafin, who died in January, garnering 76% of the vote.

Better late than never, I suppose. But due to Governor Ralph Northam’s failure (or refusal) to schedule a special election immediately after Chafin’s death, Hackworth was not instated until after the 2021 General Assembly session, one of the most consequential of recent legislatures in years. Hacksworth’s absence gave Democrats a 21 to 18 margin in the Senate instead of a 20 to 19 margin, meaning that it took two middle-of-the-road Democrats to side with Republicans instead of one to block the Northam administration’s left-wing agenda. Continue reading

Candidate Suppression in Virginia

Screenshot from Chase attending the pro-Trump rally at the National Mall Jan. 6.

by James A. Bacon

Democrats coined a highly effective phrase, “voter suppression,” to describe Republican efforts to regulate the integrity of the voting process. Maybe it’s time Republicans popularized the phrase, “candidate suppression.”

Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, is a case in point. As the Republican Party of Virginia nears its nominating convention for statewide offices, Facebook appears to have permanently removed her official state Senate page, reports Virginia Business.

Let me be clear: I am not a Chase fan. But the fact that her rhetoric and behavior is objectionable to many (including me) does not cancel her right to run for office and express her views. Chase leads in polls of Republican Party candidates for governor. It is is not remotely acceptable that Facebook has shut down one of her most important means of communicating with voters. Continue reading

Progress! GOP Replaces FUBAR With Confusion

by Steve Haner

Virginia Republicans are finally beginning their nomination process for statewide candidates, graduating from the FUBAR phase of this exercise to a state of mere confusion.

It is not a primary, nor is it a traditional “under one roof” convention, nor even the proposed “everyone in one parking lot” convention. The process most closely resembles a party canvass or firehouse primary, with the added requirement that to vote in the canvass you must pre-register as a delegate.  Continue reading

Virginia GOP–The Party that Couldn’t Shoot Straight

By Dick Hall-Sizemore

The conservatives on this blog have been spending a great deal of time lamenting what the Democratic majority and progressives are doing to the state’s universities, public schools, and life in general. However, there has been very little mention of the Commonwealth’s other major political party.  Frankly, I do not blame them for doing everything they can to distract attention away from the Republicans. That party cannot agree even on how to select its candidates for the upcoming gubernatorial election.

First, there was the usual fight in the State Central Committee over whether to have a convention or a primary. As in prior years, the proponents for a convention won out. There was one major problem with that decision, however. There is a pandemic and a large convention would violate the prohibition of large gatherings. Of course, the party could probably ignore that Governor’s executive order and go ahead with a mass convention. I doubt if the police would try to shut them down. But, doing that would be a public relations disaster. Continue reading

Richmond Bigfoots Beach Elections

by Kerry Dougherty

They think they’re so clever. Richmond Democrats, that is.

They believe that by forcing Virginia Beach to adopt a ward voting system – without first bothering to find out what the people want – they can turn the city council blue.

What other reason could there possibly be for passing a bill — on a party-line vote — that appears to affect only one city in the commonwealth?

But not so fast, Democrats.

A ward system also favors underfunded grassroots candidates with devoted followers who are willing to invest shoe leather in a campaign. You know, tea party types. Careful what you wish for.

Let’s back up.

Continue reading

Baby Steps Toward Campaign Finance Reform

Del. Marcus Simon
Photo credit: Bob Brown/AP

By Dick Hall-Sizemore

Virginia law prohibits a candidate for public office from converting “excess” campaign funds to her personal use when closing out her campaign finance account. However, there is nothing to prevent a candidate from using campaign funds for personal, non-campaign related, purposes during a campaign.

Ever since his first General Assembly session (2014), Del. Marcus Simon, D-Falls Church, has introduced legislation to prohibit any personal use of campaign funds. Year after year, the bill died, with no recorded vote, until the 2019 session, when subcommittee votes were required to be recorded. That year, the bill died, 4-3, in subcommittee, with the four votes against it cast by Republicans. Last year, the bill was carried over again. Continue reading

Dems Spike Dead-People-Don’t-Vote Bill

by Kerry Dougherty

Every once in a while – not often, rarely in fact – you see a common sense bill in the General Assembly and think to yourself, “No one could oppose this.”

That was the case with SB1422, a measure introduced by Virginia Beach State Sen. Jen Kiggans. She calls it her “Election Accuracy Bill.”

I call it the “Dead-People-Don’t-Vote Bill.”

It was quite simple.

The bill would require the State Registrar of Vital Records to send the Department of Elections a weekly list of people over the age of 17 who died during the previous seven days. Currently, this list is transmitted monthly.

The bill would also require the voter registrars to use this information to purge the names of the deceased from the voter roles.

Keeping voter registration lists current and accurate is a good thing, no? Continue reading

Rigging the Election Rules — Legally

by James A. Bacon

First, we present this news item from the Roanoke Times, headlined, “Democrats push to preserve pandemic voting access measures.”

After the November election, legislators knew changes to Virginia’s election laws were in order. Democrats and Republicans had differing views of what those changes should be. Encouraged by a presidential election with high voter turnout, Democrats are working to codify many of the changes the state put into place for the pandemic that broadened ballot access. At the same time, they are chastising Republicans who want to roll back those changes on the basis of restoring “election integrity,” saying they shouldn’t cast doubt on voting measures that don’t contribute to widespread fraud. (My bold)

See what has happened? Democrats have moved the goalpost. Now election integrity is reason for concern only when there is “widespread” voting fraud. Presumably, the definition of “widespread” is a sufficient level of fraud to disconcert Democrats. The Trumpistas made “election integrity” a running gag line with claims that the presidential election was “stolen,” and Democrats are taking full advantage of insanity on the Right to push their agenda for loosening election rules. But just because election fraud didn’t rise to the level of altering the election in 2020 doesn’t mean that election integrity is a phony issue. Which brings us to this headlineContinue reading

Election Law Transformation Continues Apace

The status of the National Popular Vote Compact, which goes into effect once enough states have signed on to let the national totals determine their electoral votes.

By Steve Haner

As I’ve explained too many times to people who won’t believe it, President Joe Biden won Nov. 3. While there remains no evidence of widespread fraud or error, election law changes achieved by Democrats in key states were a major contributing factor to that outcome.

That transformation started here in Virginia in 2020, was boosted by the pandemic, and is continuing into the 2021 General Assembly. Here are some of the key proposals pending which Democrats believe – with reason – will bolster their electoral successes. I also point to a good idea to restore public confidence, which they quickly defeated. These are just some on an incredible list of election bills this year, and that list seems to miss some.  Continue reading

Breath-Taking Hypocrisy

Northam’s opening words in his state-of-the-commonwealth address: “The chamber looks pretty good from up here, doesn’t it? You know, it’s a proud moment to look out and see a General Assembly that reflects more than ever the Virginia that we see every day.” The 200,000 citizens of Southwest Virginia’s 38th senatorial district whom Northam deprived of representation might beg to differ.

by James A. Bacon

When Governor Ralph Northam delivered his state-of-the-commonwealth speech two days ago, he gave a special nod to Sen. Ben Chafin, R-Russell County, who had died several days previously from complications relating to COVID-19. “He was my friend, and I miss him,” Northam said. “Whether on the Senate floor or in my office, his presence always brightened my day.”

“I hope that fond memories of Ben will help his family through these difficult times,” he added. “I ask you to join me in a moment of silence to honor Ben, and everyone who has lost their lives to COVID-19.” Then he briefly waxed philosophical. The epidemic, he said, has made everyone stop and ask some basic questions. “What’s really important? What do I believe in? Am I taking actions that reflect my values?”

One of the actions the Governor should be questioning is whether he honored Chafin’s memory by delaying the election of his successor until March 23 — after the General Assembly, effectively depriving the residents of Chafin’s district of representation during the 2021 session.

Equity was a big theme of Northam’s speech. Virginia needs to take steps to ensure more equity in public health, in education, in criminal justice, and in voting rights, he said. Indeed, one of his signature initiatives this session is changing the state constitution to provide automatic restoration of voting rights to felons. The concern for equity apparently does not extend, however, to the members of Chafin’s Republican-leaning district in impoverished Appalachia. Continue reading

Bacon Bits: Why-Virginians-Are-Losing-Faith-in-Government Edition

The state ends at Roanoke. It’s a long way from Clintwood, county seat of Dickenson County on the Kentucky border, to Richmond. Seven other state capitals are closer. As an old saying goes, “The people in Richmond think the state ends at Roanoke.” There has been nothing in recent events to dissuade them from that sentiment. An election to replace state Sen. Ben Chafin, who died of COVID-related illness, won’t take place until after the 2021 General Assembly session, effectively depriving tens of thousands of voters in the coalfield county and neighboring jurisdictions of representation during what is shaping up to be a consequential session. What was it that Thomas Jefferson said in his bill of complaints about the tyrannical King George? Ah, yes, “He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected.” Meanwhile, fearing potential violence, state officials are closing Capitol Square in Richmond to the public Monday, a day when constituents customarily lobby lawmakers. Gun-rights activists not welcome.

Your public servants at work. Bruce Biondo, manager of the Virginia Rider Training Program in the Department of Motor Vehicles, has been sentenced to two years and four months in prison. Bondo admitted to receiving $89,000 and the use of a Ford F-450 pickup truck in exchange for helping one company win a motorcycle-rider training contract worth $4.1 million and another a $135,000 contract, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. I suspect there’s a whole lot more skullduggery in DMV contracts. An all-day driver-safety program I attended to avoid getting a speeding ticket was a joke, and I experienced endless frustration dealing with a state-approved driver-training program that enrolled my son. I have long suspected that the administration of contracts and licensure is rife with cronyism. The Bondo sentencing confirms my suspicions.

We want you back, but mostly we want your money. Virginia Tech students will return to the Blacksburg campus for the spring semester, but only 6% of classes will be held in-person, reports the Roanoke Times. Meanwhile, Virginia Commonwealth University will commence the spring semester with all classes taught remotely, says the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Continue reading

How Texas Gets Standing Next Time: NPV

By Steve Haner

When Texas went to the United States Supreme Court last month complaining about the election processes in four other states, the case was dismissed on the issue of standing. The Court correctly replied Texas had no right to complain about how the Electoral College votes were determined in other states but could only control selection of its own presidential electors.

But what if Texas had been part of an interstate compact that required it to choose electors based on which candidate won the highest number of votes in the entire nation? That is what the National Vote Compact does: States that join, once enough agree, ignore the will of their own voters. They will certify electors pledged to the candidate with the most votes overall, even if that person failed to win in that state.  Suddenly they have a larger stake in how those other states run elections.  Continue reading