GOP and Virginia Election Laws, Part I

by Steve Haner

Let us elevate a discussion from the comment string to the main page:  Having examined Richard Hall-Sizemore’s offered examples of Virginia Republicans seeking to discourage voting in Virginia, I reject his assertion (part of a coordinated national campaign) that those bills “would result in fewer people voting.”

The broadest Republican bill he pointed to, Senate Bill 1459 offered by Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment, R-James City, basically returned voting rules to the situation in 2019.  It restored the requirement for photo identification, with the option of a provisional ballot.  With a provisional ballot allowed, how would that “result in fewer people voting?”

It also ended the practice of absentee ballot drop boxes, initially provided as an “emergency” response to the “temporary” issue of the pandemic.  Virtually every emergency, temporary adjustment blamed on the pandemic has now been enshrined as the only possible fair way to ever conduct an election and seeking to return to 2019 rules is branded as “Jim Crow.”

Jim Crow was, is and will always be a Democrat.  But that’s another story.  Jim Crow laws when instituted were supported (or ignored) by some of the same breed of craven corporate executives who are kowtowing to The Power today. Again, another story. Back to Hall-Sizemore’s examples.

House Bill 2209 was a perfectly reasonable approach to handling absentee ballots with a required signature.  All that it required was a signature!  Senate Bill 1455 would have added a requirement that someone who witnesses an absentee (requiring a witness!  How repressive!) also provide their address.  Damn, just like the police dogs and fire hoses on the Pettus Bridge!

One bill Hall-Sizemore cited may have indeed prevented somebody from voting. House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert sought to repeal the provision for same-day registration, approved in 2020 for implementation this year.  Good for him. That is an outrageously bad idea, as it means no effort can or will be made to check the registrant’s identity or address.  It will also delay the lines on Election Day.  Preventing fraud is voter suppression, Dick?

On the basis of those bills, Democrats seek to compare today’s Republicans with their own direct political ancestors who instituted a poll tax, literacy tests, and firebombed churches to prevent registration drives?  President Biden’s statements in this regard are as or more despicable than any comment made by his predecessor.  They are blood libel.  But the media applauds his libels and crawls in with him.

Hall-Sizemore also points to three bills that Republican opposed, claiming that their passage “expanded the voter base.”  Absolutely false.  They had nothing to do with registration, which creates the “voter base,” and had they failed every Virginian would have still have plenty of easy avenues to voting, in person, by mail, early or on Election Day.

Senate Bill 1245 dealt with ballot drop boxes and instituted a “cure” process for absentee ballot errors that on its face looks similar to the one in Norment’s bill.  House Bill 1888 is a more extensive absentee ballot bill and the third bill mentioned, House Bill 1968, provided the option of early voting on Sundays.  It is local option.  It is possible nobody will do it. Will it be racism to give registrar employees Sunday off?

Here is my deal for my writing buddy Dick:  I’d like him to leave off with the claims that any effort to ensure that people voting are who they say they are, and are only voting once, equates you to Eugene “Bull” Connor or Virginia’s Massive Resistance leaders (all Democrats.)  In return, I’ll agree that the changes sought in 2020 and 2021 were not intentional efforts to steal elections with fraudulent votes.

That doesn’t mean I agree with them all.  Some will make it easier to cheat.

Looking through these again, one important point is that Virginia law as it stands today, with these changes, looks quite similar to the Georgia laws that just passed and are being hypocritically attacked by a horribly biased national media and corporate fellow travelers.

As previously stated, there is nothing wrong with a period of early voting and no-excuse absentee voting, as long as steps are taken to verify identity, prevent repeat voting, and enforce deadlines.   Those were changes that actually did increase turnout.  Wait for Part II on that point.