by James C. Sherlock
Governor Youngkin has appointed former state Senator Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg, as vice chairman of the state Board of Elections.
As vice-chair, she is the highest ranking Democrat on the board.
She will perform an absolutely vital role.
While Sen. Dance was not in office for that revolution, interpreting it for the purpose of developing regulations will require experience, a Democratic mindset and a strong stomach.
Voter Identification – repeal of photo identification requirements:
- expanded the list of acceptable voter identification documents to include voter confirmation documents, any HAVA-compliant ID documents, and valid higher education student IDs regardless of whether they include a photo or not. If the voter does not present an acceptable ID, he or she [Editor’s note: not enough pronouns] can sign an ID Confirmation Statement confirming his or her identity and vote regularly. Since an ID that includes a photo is no longer required, the bill relieves ELECT’s and registrars’ duty to provide free voter ID cards. [Editor’s note: what could go wrong?]
State Board of Elections:
- imposed an additional duty to the State Board of Elections to supervise local electoral boards and general registrars and ensure that major risks to election integrity are identified, assessed, and addressed as necessary to promote electoral uniformity, legality and purity. [Editor’s note: purity tests have a checkered past.]
- Permanent establishment of ballot drop-off locations that were emergency measures during COVID;
- Allows contractors to print, assemble, and mail absentee ballots and required “emergency” provisions to allow that in the 2021 elections;
- Turned what were temporary absentee voter lists for each election into permanent absentee ballot lists. The voter stays on the permanent list and can only be removed for the following reasons:
a. the voter requests in writing to be removed;
b. their registration is cancelled or placed on an inactive status;
c. a ballot is sent to them and is returned as undeliverable; or
d. the voter moves to a new address in a different locality.
- requires the Department to provide mail voter registration application forms to each public institution of higher education and nonprofit private institution of higher education; [Editor’s note: again, what could go wrong?]
- added valid student IDs issued by institutions of higher learning located outside the state of Virginia to the list of acceptable forms of ID for voting. [Editor’s note: Not sure how that is in the public interest or identifies the holder as an eligible Virginia voter, but then I’m not a Democrat.]
First time voters:
- Same day registration – extended the period that an otherwise qualified person can register to vote in person up to and through election day, effectively providing for same-day registration in all elections;
- Removed the requirement for first-time voters in state elections who register by mail to vote in person on Election Day. [Editor’s note: So a voter in state elections now need not ever present himself to elections officials to be identified. Even if he did, he need not present a photo id.]
Campaigns and Campaign Finance:
- Removed the requirement for a statewide office holder or member of the General Assembly to report pre-legislative-session contributions on any subsequent campaign finance report after the January 15 filing with the State Board. Previously these needed to be reported in the next regularly scheduled report. [Editor’s note: reducing candidate embarrassment might not have been the first concern of the average citizen.]
Registration of 16-year-olds:
- Voter preregistration for Virginia citizens who are 16 years of age or older and are otherwise qualified to register to vote. [Editor’s note: really?]
Raised to 50,000 the populations of localities allowed to appoint a general registrar who is a citizen of the Commonwealth instead of a citizen of the locality. The previous limit was 25,000. [Editor’s note: what itch did that scratch?]
Ranked choice voting:
- granted an option to adopt Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), also known as Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), to all localities for elections for members of a county board of supervisors or city council. [Editor’s note: Tammany Hall would have loved this one. The motivation was clearly to eliminate the effects of candidates not endorsed by the local political parties or other power brokers. That law would make for an interesting constitutional challenge.]
Bottom line. The appointment of Rosalyn Dance was appropriate.
That is true especially because some of the election laws jammed through Democratic majorities in the General Assembly on party line votes and signed by Gov. Northam in 2020-21 make our elections far less secure.
Less “pure” in the words of one piece of their legislation.
She was not there, but served on Privileges and Elections when she was in office and understands the thinking and motivations of those who cast the votes.
But then, so do most Virginians.