Republican voting bills clear House subcommittee, stall in Senate committee
RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - With divided government in Richmond, the House of Delegates and the State Senate are moving in different directions. That was apparent Tuesday, as House and Senate committees weighed issues of election integrity and easy access for voters.
Del. Lee Ware (R-Powhatan) found a receptive audience among fellow Republicans on the House Privileges and Elections Subcommittee that met Tuesday morning.
“We’re duty-bound to protect the vote of every eligible voter, every eligible voter, from being stolen or being diluted by fraudulent ballots,” Ware told the subcommittee.
Ware’s bill would reinstate the requirement that voters provide a valid Photo ID.
Democrats defended Virginia’s election system, and questioned whether Republican voting bills are actually addressing a legitimate problem.
“You know it strikes me when people say ‘put confidence back into the election system,’ the number one way we could do that is if politicians and media figures would just tell the truth about how our elections are safe and secure,” said Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-Henrico).
The House subcommittee voted to report Ware’s bill and send it to the full committee. Other GOP measures would limit early voting and restrict the use of drop boxes.
But similar bills suffered a different fate later in the day, in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee controlled by Democrats.
Sen. Amanda Chase presented several bills, including the repeal of same-day voter registration.
“The thing that concerns me is that we’ve opened basically a floodgate to many new changes to Virginia law that are giving a lot of our voters some room for concern,” she said.
The Democratic majority on the committee tabled every one.
And that’s how it’s likely to go with voting bills expected to clear the House of Delegates this year.
Despite a narrow margin in the Senate, it appears Democrats will be able to hold the line on their voting reforms.
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