Virginia Voting “Reform” Makes Fraud Easier

by Chris Adams

In a Restonnow.com opinion piece last month, Delegate Ken Plum, D-Reston, listed several accomplishments of the General Assembly in 2020. Several speak positively to the Commonwealth. One, however, is noteworthy for degrading election integrity.

“Non-discrimination legislation passed with the Virginia Values Act being one of the most comprehensive in the nation,” wrote Plum. “Voting laws were changed to make voting easier and more accessible as voters are now learning as they cast their votes in this election. Many Jim Crow-era laws were repealed.”[i] Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax Station, and Senator Chap Petersen, D=Fairfax, joined Plum in voting in favor of the bill. Governor Ralph Northam signed the bill in April.[ii]

On April 10, 2020 several changes were made to Virginia Election Law. A complete list of changes made to Virginia election law can be found here. Here are three of the most worrisome.

Absentee Voting; no excuse required
HB 1 and SB 111
Effective date: July 1, 2020.

These identical bills eliminate all excuses previously required for a voter to be eligible to vote by absentee ballot. This allows any otherwise qualified voter to vote in person or by mail up to 45 days before the election. The bills make an exception for special elections when timing does not allow for 45 days of absentee voting. The language maintains the requirement (passed in 2019) that in-person absentee voting, or “early voting,” be available on the last two Saturdays before the election in all elections.[iii]

Voter identification; repeal of photo identification requirements
HB 19 and SB 65
Effective date: July 1, 2020

These bills expand the list of acceptable voter identification documents to include voter confirmation documents, any HAVA (Help America Vote Act)  compliant ID documents, and valid higher education student IDs, regardless of whether the voter has a photo or not. If the voter does not present an acceptable ID, he or she can sign an ID Confirmation Statement confirming his or her identity. Because a photo ID is no longer required, the bill relieves registrars’ duty to provide free voter ID cards.[iv]

Voter identification; accepted forms of identification, out-of-state student identification card.
HB 213
Effective date: July 1, 2020

This bill adds valid student IDs issued by institutes of higher learning located outside the state of Virginia to the list of acceptable forms of ID for voting.[v]

To prevent abuse and fraud of absentee ballots, voters should be required to demonstrate why they are unable to vote in person on election day or early voting. The Heritage Foundation explains several types of voter fraud and how they are accomplished. In-person voting using a state-issued Driver’s License, state-issued ID or U.S. Passport reduces the possibility of voter fraud due to voter impersonation, mail theft, exploitation of seniors, ballot harvesting, and identity theft.

Early voting should be allowed, but for a shorter period of time — perhaps starting the Friday before the election. This would allow voters to have as much information as possible prior to voting. In the 2020 presidential election, the last presidential debate was held October 22, 2020, ten days before the election. The Vice-Presidential debate was held October 07, 2020. Persons who voted before either of these debates or before information was released about either candidate would not be able to change their votes.

Allowing persons to use non state-issued forms of identification also allows for abuse, as they are often easier to obtain, harder to verify and don’t have the proof -of-identity requirements of state and federal identification. A person cannot use a college identification card or employer identification card to purchase alcohol, tobacco, open a bank account, or cash a check in Virginia. Nor can such identification be used for the purpose of proving one’s identity for employment purposes such as working in schools, as a paramedic or for other occupations. They should not be accepted for voter identity purposes.

The right to vote is arguably the most precious and important right that an American citizen has. With that right comes a tremendous amount of responsibility on both the part of the citizen and the Virginia Department of Elections (VDE). Citizens have the responsibility to properly register, to research the candidates, and to then vote. The VDE has the responsibility to ensure that elections are conducted in a fair and impartial manner in compliance with state law and that only people legally allowed to vote in Virginia elections do so.

The changes described above degrade election integrity in the commonwealth. Every Virginian who is eligible to vote should be able to do so. However, safeguards must be in place to ensure that only eligible voters vote.

Chris Adams lives in Fairfax County.


[i] https://www.restonnow.com/2020/10/22/del-ken-plum-an-amazing-year/

[ii] https://www.billtrack50.com/BillDetail/1148703

[iii] https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/electionadministration/electionlaw/2020-Changes-to-Virginia-Election-Laws.pdf

[iv] https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/electionadministration/electionlaw/2020-Changes-to-Virginia-Election-Laws.pdf

[v] https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/electionadministration/electionlaw/2020-Changes-to-Virginia-Election-Laws.pdf s

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55 responses to “Virginia Voting “Reform” Makes Fraud Easier

  1. Granted this year’s eternal voting period that began on September 18 was far too long and should be shortened. But I call BS on this statement in your column:

    “To prevent abuse and fraud of absentee ballots, voters should be required to demonstrate why they are unable to vote in person on election day or early voting.”

    It is absolutely none of the state’s damn business where I will be on election day. If I’m not in town, I want to vote absentee. Period. I don’t need to tell a nanny state why I will not be in my hometown. I was traveling on election day in 2016 and voted absentee for the first time in my 45+ years of voting. I was incensed that the county registrar wouldn’t accept my ballot unless that section was completed.

    • Yeah, it is kinda silly to tell them where you’ll be since with credit cards, license plate readers, cellphones, cctv on every building, EZ-Pass, and OnStar in your car, they know exactly where you are anyway.

  2. Sometimes, the difference between registration and voting gets a bit muddled but before you can vote you have to register and in VIrginia, it requires a social security number and a proof of residence, and they check to see if you are a convicted felon or declared mentally incompetent.

    I keep hearing the phrase – “no WIDESPREAD voter fraud”. I wonder how much actual fraud we actually have.

    Is it hundreds, thousoands?

    That information needs to be widely available.

  3. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Now both teams can equally cheat with no chance of being held accountable. I approve. Boss Tweed was right. Counting is the strength.

  4. It always occurred to me that if the county can find you to tax you for your property – that should be a pretty good ID in general.

  5. How do homeless people vote? I mean, just ’cause you live in a car or a camper doesn’t mean you don’t pay taxes and aren’t entitled to representation, now does it? Or, does it?

    The whole process of registration and voting depends on a number and a name. Not a Social Security number and person’s name, but a house number and a street name.

    In America, houses have the right to vote, not people.

    Only the landed gentry have rights?

  6. It is always painful when you first realize that the alcoholic bum on the sidewalk or the person drawing fourteen kinds of public assistance has the same vote you do, and will probably cancel you out. Bad enough that Larry, Nancy Boy and UATW are allowed in the polls, but those people?

    Can’t stand with Adams on his complaints, not most of them. Universal suffrage is the system. And it is why the founders sought to control raw democracy and created a republic, with a host of checks and balances. I wrote about these changes and the impact they would have, but they are legal. I’m all for early voting, all for mailed absentees with some reasonable requirements (like a witness and the signature tests.) Unsolicited mail-in voting is indeed an open opportunity for fraud, but in general, the problem is that the Republicans would rather seek to exclude a class of voters than try to actually appeal to them and win their votes.

    You saw that instinct on full display yesterday with the GOP decision to hold a convention to pick 2021 statewide nominees. Real voters scare too many Republicans. Big mistake. BIG mistake. When Amanda Chase is the one standing up for openness and inclusion, the rest of the GOP really look stupid. BIG MISTAKE.

    • Wow Steve! Really? Smuggery from you? What about the simply itinerant? You do realize there are massive numbers of people who sell out, cash in, purchase a yacht, land or water variant, and “walk off to look for America”, right?

    • What’s painful Steve is that folks who believe in conspiracy theories vote.

      Much, much more dangerous than a “bum” who does accept realities who votes.

      yes and we actually do agree on some things like this: ” but in general, the problem is that the Republicans would rather seek to exclude a class of voters than try to actually appeal to them and win their votes.”

      “Appeal”, I would say that talks about messaging – which they do – but what the GOP does NOT do is actually REPRESENT THEM then turns around and tries to remove them from voting!

      And a good part of their existing base – buys lies and untruths and outright conspiracy theories… and willing to take to the streets with guns to show their “concern”.

      I do not what to see one illegal vote. I would support just about any provision to surgically excise such votes but that’s different than the sledge hammer that wipes out other votes also – especvially those you know will vote against you.

      • That’s right, Larry — both sides are appalled by some of the folks who vote for the other party…shocking. Please, plenty of foolish conspiracy thinking all along the political spectrum. For years the Dems could not accept 2016 and had their own delusions. It was simple: People had enough of the Clintons.

        • to the point where some are leaving Twitter and going to Parler?

          It’s a mix of liberals and conservatives leaving Twitter?

          😉

          I’ve not been to Parler but I can pretty much predict what kind
          of “information” will be over there… and also that it won’t be many “liberals”.

    • Well, to make a point, albeit a Democrat black eye, Google “voting livingston texas escapees local elections” and you might find this
      https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Absentee-voter-bloc-of-RVers-could-steer-elections-1695576.php

      Livingston has 35,000 voters and 14,000 of them live in boxes on Rainbow Drive — a box you couldn’t put your head in. And they sway local elections.

  7. The proposal to require a driver’s license, state-issued ID card, or passport as ID would be a step back to limiting the number of people who actually vote. Before we discourage people from voting in order to reduce or eliminate fraud, one needs to demonstrate that significant fraud actually exists.

    As for unsolicited mail-in voting, as mentioned by Steve, Virginia does not have that. Some states in the western part of the country, including Utah, a deep red state, have used universal (unsolicitied) mail-in voting for years, with no significant problems.

    I like the idea of the citizenry coming together on a given day to choose our leaders, but the reality is that approach results in fewer people actually voting. This last election showed that “no-excuse” absentee voting and early voting encouraged higher turnout. In a true democracy, we should do everything we can to enable citizens to vote.

    • As for unsolicited mail-in voting, Virginia does not have that YET. But I agree with some reasonable controls it can be handled. The real problem there is voters who move or, uh, die, leaving a ballot in a mailbox for somebody to misuse. Would the advocate for mail voting accept stringent efforts to purge the rolls of those folks? If not, then we shouldn’t go there at all.

      • re: ” The real problem there is voters who move or, uh, die, leaving a ballot in a mailbox for somebody to misuse.”

        I agree with that – but I think there are safeguards that could be implemented to deal with it.

        But I do fear that GOP folks will then try to use that to suppress.

    • Higher turnout and more voters are a means to an end, not an end in itself.

      We need free and fair elections that reflect the will of the people and are trusted by the electorate. Weakening the assurances of voter integrity to gain raw numbers is counter productive overall. Numbers may be up, but trust is eroding significantly. That is not healthy for Virginia or the country.

      “Before we discourage people from voting in order to reduce or eliminate fraud, one needs to demonstrate that significant fraud actually exists.”

      Fraud is only one of many problems in this election, but fine. I’ll make some comments about fraud. Fraud has been alleged this election, but can only be proven if the lawsuits are allowed to proceed. These are civil lawsuits, not criminal.

      Unlike criminal trials, civil proceeding are designed to favor the plaintiff in the early stages. The threshold to proceed is deliberately low because unlike prosecutors, private citizens do not have the means to gather evidence without the ability to require the defendant to produce documents, other evidence, and submit to depositions.

      If the news media were doing their jobs, they would understand and explain to the public that complete proof is the end result, not the beginning of civil lawsuits.

      What basis is there to allow election lawsuits to proceed? Well, there are literally hundreds of signed affidavits given under penalty of perjury for starters. There are also numerous other indicators that require investigation.

      The meat of his findings start about 7 minutes in.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XH9ihoLi1NA&feature=youtu.be

      Question for you:

      How can someone who is alleged to have voted in the same election in multiple states be charged with voter fraud without positive voter ID in both states?

      • A violation of election law is a criminal offense in Virginia. Some are misdemeanors; others are felonies. Many are Class 5 felonies, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. See Sections 24.2-1000 through 24.2-1019, Code of Virginia.

        Courts, federal and state, many with Republican-appointed judges, even one appointed by Trump, in many states after this election have said that that there sufficient evidence of fraud has not been presented even to go to trial, much less for a guilty verdict. The U.S. Attorney General, remember him, appointed by Trump with much fanfare, has said that his office has not found any evidence of widespread fraud. What else do you want?

        • Dick Hall-Sizemore,

          In response to your comments above:

          “A violation of election law is a criminal offense in Virginia.”

          Possession of marijuana is also a violation of both state and federal law. So does that mean nobody in Virginia uses it, or that every violation results in an investigation, prosecution and conviction?

          If potential violation of laws are not deemed worthy to pursue, as is the case with most instances of marijuana possession and increasingly with potential issues of voter fraud, the laws become meaningless over time and violations grow.

          The apathy and indifference to potential instances of voter fraud and other election issues (including here on BR) does not bode well for the future of Virginia or the country.

          Across the country there are dozens of lawsuits by numerous parties, not just President Trump. Each lawsuit typically involves multiple issues. There are also hundreds of signed affidavits and numerous other signs of potential problems with this election. One cannot merely lump everything together with any blanket statement or characterization and do justice to the issue of election integrity. I will, however, do my best to briefly comment on some of the issues you have raised.

          There is a difference between civil fraud and criminal fraud.

          Not all violations of law or the Constitution are necessarily criminal, and the potential remedy isn’t always prosecution. That being the case, numerous issues related to the 2020 election do not fall within the DOJ’s jurisdiction to pursue.

          Bush v. Gore was not a criminal case. Neither was Korematsu v. United States. Do you think the Korematsu case was decided correctly?

          You also brought up the issue of “widespread.” This election wasn’t just for President, and some elections look like they may be decided by as few as 6 votes. Every legal and illegal ballot matters.

          There’s much more to say about individual court rulings, what various judges said during those hearing, etc. But at this point I’m not even sure you will read this, so I won’t take the time to go through all that.

          The bottom line is that investigations into voter irregularities and allegations of impropriety require a willingness to pursue them, and often a significant amount of recourses over an extended period of time. That’s what history shows us.

          Do you know what it took to uncover the fraud in Chicago in the 1982 election? Did the victim of the fraud have proof days after the election? Sixty-five individuals were eventually indicted for federal election crimes, but it took time and a willingness to pursue “unproven” allegations and leads.

          “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire: 100,000 Stolen Votes in Chicago”

          Stevenson claimed there was evidence of voter fraud in areas of the state outside of Chicago. Although those claims “did not pan out,” it was clear that “the prospect of a close [judicial] look at the conduct of voting in Chicago did not please many of Chicago’s Democratic kingpins, already under pressure because of the federal [criminal] investigation of charges of vote fraud in the [1982] election.…” For that reason, “many committeemen privately had expressed a hope that Stevenson would lose his bid for a recount.”

          https://www.heritage.org/election-integrity/report/where-theres-smoke-theres-fire-100000-stolen-votes-chicago

          The “show me the proof” mantra is an unrealistic expectation mere days after an election. It’s an excuse to sweep election issues under the rug. That almost happened in Chicago. Will it happen with this election?

          What do I want? I want the concerns of MILLIONS of voters to be taken seriously. I want what the Democrats got after the 2016 election – news coverage, serious investigations, and a willingness to follow-up on allegations and potential leads.

          Why are the concerns of Democrats worthy of serious consideration and investigations, while those of Republicans are not? How many signed affidavits from individuals with first hand knowledge of “collusion” did we have after the 2016 election? Answer = zero.

          • need to better clarify the difference between “irregularities” and true fraud and beyond that if there is fraud – why would there be more of it on one side than the other – as in some kind of conspiracy by one side to steal the election?

            I do not doubt for one minute there are some people who are voting who should not be. It’s almost impossible to have that many folks voting and have zero of it.

            But have we quantified:

            1. – how many? what percentage?
            2. – if it was way more on one side than the other?
            3. – if it was lopsided , was it due to a conspiracy across the
            precincts to change the results of the election.

            What we have right now is essentially: ” we “think” there MIGHT be some “irregularities” – but it’s being said by some
            to be an indication of a conspiracy – and this is why the judges
            are sending those folks packing.

            Not a single state election official – Dem or GOP has agreed that there is a conspiracy or even widespread “lopsided” “fraud”.

          • There are more allegations and incidents than I can count. Answering your question in a general sense isn’t possible. Each has it’s own story and details. It would be best to fully understand and discuss one specific situation in detail, but that would no doubt require some rather lengthy external reading to discuss intelligently. Unfortunately, nobody seems willing to do that. Are you?

            Right now I need to get some work done and may not be online again until tomorrow. In the meantime I recommend reading the history of what happened in Chicago which I linked to above.

          • There is a huge difference between an individual fraudunlently voting and whole bunch fruadulently voting – all on the same side.

            Then beyond that – if doing so is part of a conspriacy.

            We have no indications at all of lopsided voting going on much less a conspiracy.

            this is just fear-mongering and undermining elections IMHO.

            How in the world do we have a bunch of people voting for GOP candidates but voting against POTUS?

            How can that be a conspiracy or if so – a truly weird one!

            totally bogus.

            The reall sad thing is that we have many people who truly believe in conspiracies now – when there are none.

          • Larry,

            Your lack of agreement to read external materials tells me you really don’t want answers to your questions. That’s what I thought.

          • Nathan, I read external materials from objective and authorotative sources and usually not ones that are biased and clearly partisan.

            Virtally all state leaders including GOP and almost all judges including ones appointed by Trump has said what he is doing is bogus.

            None of the Conservatives in BR are defending it except for you.

            At some point lies and conspiracy theories are actually recognized as such.

          • On this issue I would avoid reliance on any news sources and go directly to primary documents. Read the lawsuits, affidavits, transcripts, laws, and Constitution yourself.

            If you aren’t willing to do that, your questions will not be answered and you are at the mercy of other’s ignorance.

            “None of the Conservatives in BR are defending it except for you.”

            They may not be as familiar with the particulars, or aren’t wanting to discuss issues occurring largely outside of Virginia. I cannot answer for anyone else, and I don’t rely on others to decide for me what is true.

  8. “To prevent abuse and fraud of absentee ballots, voters should be required to demonstrate why they are unable to vote in person on election day or early voting.”

    Ummm… in short, BS!! Prior to this law, you did not have to “demonstrate” anything. You merely had to state that you would not be home to vote on election day. Eliminating the need to make a such a statement (which is all the law did) does not increase the opportunity for fraud and abuse. If someone wants to break the law, why do you think making such a statement would slow them down?

    • Mr. Adams is one of the millions who needs to find some excuse to explain away the obvious: The Current Occupant was thrown out on his bum by a massive turnout, and clearly it was not a vote for the other team, but against him. I do love the irony of Democrats whining and looking for excuses four years ago (Russia!) and now Republicans hunting up fraud. You think they might notice the parallels and admit both narratives are false.

      • Careful Steve:

        I fear we might be too eager to lose, while our opponents refuse to accept defeat and will do any and all things, legal or otherwise, necessary to avoid their own defeat and our victory.

      • As consequential as the outcome of this Presidential election is, the integrity of our election process is far more important in the long run.

        Republicans by and large or not “hunting up fraud” as you suggest. There are many legitimate concerns that need to be investigated and addressed. That won’t happen if we all turn a blind eye to them and pretend everything went smoothly. It did not.

        One objective measure that should be consulted is the report of the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, known informally as the Carter-Baker Commission. It’s title is as important as the contents.

        “Building Confidence in U.S. Elections.”

        If we ignore these recommendations (as was done this election), we do so at the expense of voter confidence and the potential for free and fair elections going forward.

        https://www.legislationline.org/download/id/1472/file/3b50795b2d0374cbef5c29766256.pdf

      • It is pretty clear that the Russians did try to influence the 2016 election. However, I am not one of those Democrats that use that as the primary excuse. The main reason the Democrats lost in 2016 was we had a lousy candidate. Not only was she a lousy candidate, but, as you said, people were tired of the Clintons. Oh, James Comey helped some, too. She was the only candidate that Trump could have beaten.

        • Wait! You’re a Democrat? Hail citizen!

          Hillary is a brilliant woman. Perhaps the most intelligent candidate since JFK. But emotionally as fake as a football bat. She is just barely less humble than Trump.

          2016 was a choice between the only two people who could lose to the other.

          • You haven’t been paying much attention if that’s news….

          • Nah, I just had him pegged for an extremely smart Republican, which is almost the same thing nowadays.

          • Hillary is not brilliant.

            “On November 3, the District of Columbia Bar Association notified Hillary that she had failed the bar exam. For the first time in her life, she had flamed out — spectacularly, given the expectations of others for her, and even more so on her own. Of 817 applicants, 551 of her peers had passed, most from law schools less prestigious than Yale. She kept this news hidden for the next thirty years. She never took the exam again, despite many opportunities. Her closest friends and associates were flabbergasted when she made the revelation in a single throwaway line in Living History.”

            https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/no-bar-to-success/

    • Agree. That sounds like trying to dissuade someone who is a valid voter, to make it harder to vote.

  9. So what do you propose to make sure that all US citizens have the opportunity to vote but are limited to one vote?
    There was much fraud in the 2020 election. It has been exposed by private citizens. Was it enough to change the election? Nobody knows because private citizens do not have the investigative power that the government has; therefore, much fraud can go undiscovered. The government seems to have little interest in investigating. Why?
    One problem with all citizens voting: some citizens are well informed and others know little or nothing about the issues and the stances of the candidates on the issues. A large number of uninformed citizens can overwhelm a smaller mass of the well informed. Is that ok?

    • Thank you Fred for this:

      “A large number of uninformed citizens can overwhelm a smaller mass of the well informed. Is that ok?”

      Of course not, but nobody wants to talk about it, thought everyone sensible should know it is a big problem.

      Another big problem is intimidation at voting and vote transport and counting places, and threats of cancellation culture along the way. Nobody wants to talk about these issues either.

      Nor does anyone want to talk about vote counting and tracking of votes controlled by only one side that excludes otherside.

      We got big problems folks. Compromised elections kill republics. And pure democracies don’t work either. Nobody wants to talk about that either.

      • The Trump campaign has gone to numerous federal and state courts, many of them with a majority of Republican-appointed or elected judges. It presented these affidavits, their claims of being excluded from observing the counting of votes. In one case, when pressed by a judge, the lawyer for the campaign admitted that Republicans had “nonzero” observers in the area in which votes were being tabulated. (I guess that is sort of like “alternative facts”.) All the courts have thrown out these cases, some with some pretty harsh language directed at the plaintiffs.

    • The U.S. Attorney General ordered federal prosecutors to look for fraud in this last election. He has reported that they found no evidence of “much fraud”.

      • That is it and of itself is the answer. Most if not all elections have “voter fraud” how substantial it is, would be the matter for discussion. Now it becomes a question of are you comfortable with voter fraud or just the caveat of not “substantial”.

  10. We’re gonna find out after January just how many of the court litigants are truly interested in reform ..of the problems that are claimed. We’re also gonna know how many folks were actually charged with fraud.

    Right now, it boils down to ” we THINK there MIGHT be fraud and we want an investigation” and the courts are saying ” where is your evidence beyond the claims”.

  11. Well. I trust the judges and I trust the GOP leaders who HAVE read those documents and say they are Grade A Hogwash.

    • So do i, but there are 10s of millions who believe that the election stolen by rampant fraud. In a population of 10s of millions, there are 100s of thousands who are both dangerously armed and violent.

  12. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    I can’t believe Delegate Ken Plum is still around. Circa 1983. He has outlasted everything and must be made of formaldehyde. Heck of a nice guy though.

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