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Debate turns to election integrity, as lawmakers approve budget bills

Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 8:15 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The debate turned to zombies and the integrity of Virginia’s elections Friday, as lawmakers took up the state budget and each chamber approved its own amendments to the two-year spending plan.

“We have miles to go before the budget is finalized,” said Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax Co.), but this is an important day.”

The budget bill approved by the State Senate, and the one that cleared the House of Delegates Friday afternoon are far from the final product, but they set the stage for negotiations between now and the end of February.

They both include funding for COVID response, pay raises for state employees and teachers and the extension of passenger rail to the New River Valley, but there are differences in how they get there.

And there were differences Friday in the House of Delegates, when Republicans proposed a floor amendment that would increase the frequency with which election officials purge the voter rolls of Virginians who have died.

“My question is, what is the other side so scared of,” asked Del. Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach). “If there is no issue. If there is no fraud, why not take that off the table for Virginians that are concerned about it.”

“I am, as I hope everybody in this body is, deeply against zombies. I’m against them walking our streets, eating our brains and certainly voting,” said Del. Mike Mullin (D-Newport News), “but this is an absolutely ridiculous conversation.”

Democrats said the evidence shows the November election was safe and secure. And they defeated the Republican floor amendment, leaving the debate over zombies and the integrity of elections for another day.

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