Privileges and Elections Committee (House)

Privileges and Elections Committee 2

Summary

Meets on: Friday at 9:30 a.m. in House Room 3

MembersMarcus Simon (Chair)    Dawn Adams  –  Les Adams  –  Alex Askew  –  Rob Bloxom   –  Mark Cole   –  Kelly Fowler    Christopher Head   –  Paul Krizek  –  Mark Levine   –  John McGuire  –  Israel O’Quinn  –  Bobby Orrock  –  Cia Price  –  Sam Rasoul  –  David Reid  –  Chris Runion  –  Nick Rush  –  Mark Sickles  –  Marcus Simon  –  Shelly Simonds  –  Schuyler VanValkenburg

(13 Democrats and 9 Republicans)

Subcommittees:

  • Campaign Finance
  • Constitutional Amendments
  • Elections, Gubernatorial
  • Appointments
  • Redistricting

News

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Note: Details on bills passed below are in the Heading “Bills passed”

  • HB 1749 Nassawadox, Town of; amending charter, updates to reflect town’s shift of municipal elections. r.
  • HB 1810 Voter registration; failure of online voter registration system, deadline extension. 
  • HB 1838 Loudoun County school board; staggered terms of its members. 
  • HB 1858 Appomattox, Town of; amending charter, shifts local elections from May to November, etc. 
  • HB 1888 Absentee voting; procedural and process reforms, availability and accessibility reforms, penalty. 
  • HB 1890 Discrimination; prohibited in voting and elections administration, etc. 
  • HB 1921 Assistance for certain voters; curbside voting. 
  • HB 1968 Absentee voting; availability on Sundays in office of general registrar or voter satellite office.
  • HB 2020 Nomination of candidates for elected offices; restrictions on nomination method selected. 
  • HB 2081 Polling places; prohibited activities, unlawful possession of a firearm, penalty.
  • HB 2125 Voter registration; preregistration for persons 16 years of age or older, effective date. 
  • HB 2198 Local elections for governing bodies; elections for school boards, qualification of voters. 
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Privileges and Elections Committee 2021 hearings
Virginia House of Delegates Video Streaming

Standing Committee: 1/13  1/20  1/27  2/3   2/8  2/10  2/17

Subcommittees:

Campaign Finance: 1/21

Constitutional Amendments: 1/25  2/1

Elections: 1/19  1/26  2/16

Gubernatorial Appointments: 1/18 

Voting Rights: 1/20  1/22  1/29

 

Va. House panel expands felon rights proposal to allow voting after release
Virginia Mercury, Graham MoomawJanuary 25, 2021 (Short)

A Virginia House of Delegates panel on Monday expanded a felon voting rights proposal to allow former inmates to vote when they’re released from incarceration, a change potentially allowing their rights to be restored years earlier than envisioned under the plan’s prior rules.

As originally drafted, the proposed constitutional amendment would have automatically restored felons’ civil rights after they had completed their sentence and any period of supervised probation.

But some Democratic lawmakers said they preferred a simpler solution, one that wouldn’t complicate the rights restoration process by tying it to a probation period or an ex-offender’s ability to pay fines and fees after their release.

“To me, completion of sentence of imprisonment is a very clear, bright-line standard,” said Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, the chairman of the House’s subcommittee on constitutional amendments.

During a subcommittee hearing Monday, a representative of Gov. Ralph Northam told House members the administration would support that approach. The panel amended the proposal accordingly.

The proposal has not yet been voted on by the full House, and a similar measure in the Senate has not yet been taken up in committee. But Monday’s hearing offered a glimpse of how key policy decisions on felon voting might play out over the rest of the General Assembly session.

Some Democrats and voting advocacy groups are pushing to end felon disenfranchisement altogether, arguing the right to vote is so fundamental that people convicted of crimes should be allowed to continue to cast ballots from their cells.

“It’s time for you to be bold and move this conversation from restoring votes to giving people the right to vote,” ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga told the subcommittee Monday.

Del. Marcus Simon, D-Fairfax, the chairman of the House Privileges and Elections Committee, said he supports that concept generally. But because the amendment needs final approval from voters in a ballot referendum that could happen in 2022, he said, making the conversation about voting from jail could jeopardize the larger reform effort.

“I would hate to risk this progress, which I think is really important,” Simon said.

Whatever form the proposal ends up taking, the General Assembly would have to approve the exact same version next year before it could be sent to the voters.

Many Republicans have been supportive of relaxing Virginia’s policy, which prevents all felons from voting unless a governor has taken action to restore their rights. But some have also cautioned against blanket restoration, insisting the nature of the offense committed and whether debts have been paid should factor into the process.

Del. Chris Head, R-Roanoke, said leaving some limitations in place would prevent a major erosion of conservative support.

“As a Christian, personally, my faith is all about grace,” Head said. “That means that there is a point where you have to have a road back.”

About

Web

VA Legislative Information Systems (LIS), https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php?committee=H19

Bills

Bills reported out 

HB 1749 – Nassawadox, Town of; amending charter, updates to reflect town’s shift of municipal elections.

  • A bill sponsored by Delegate Bloxom that updates the charter for the Town of Nassawadox to reflect the town’s shift of municipal elections from May to November.

HB 1764 – Crewe, Town of; amending charter, changes to charter including town council, elections and powers.

  • A bill sponsored by Delegate Wright that makes various changes to the charter for the Town of Crewe in Nottoway County, including (i) staggering town council elections; (ii) changing from three to two the number of town council members required to call a special meeting; and (iii) transferring from the town council to the town manager the authority to appoint, suspend, or terminate the chief of police with majority approval by the town council.

HB 1810 – Voter registration; failure of online voter registration system, deadline extension.

  • A bill sponsored by Delegate VanValkenburg that Provides that in the event that a failure of the Virginia online voter registration system occurs prior to the close of registration records, the Governor has the authority to order the online voter registration system to be available for registration activities after the date for closing the registration records for a period of time equal to the amount of time during which the online voter registration system was unavailable for registration activities, rounded up to the nearest whole day, plus an additional day to allow for voter education efforts.

HB 1838 – Loudoun County school board; staggered terms of its members.

  • A bill sponsored by Delegate Reid that enables the Loudoun County school board to stagger the terms of its members at the November election immediately preceding the end of the board’s term and upon the board’s prior vote for staggered terms.

HB 1858 – Appomattox, Town of; amending charter, shifts local elections from May to November, etc.

  • A bill sponsored by Delegate Fariss that shifts local elections for the Town of Appomattox from May to November and staggers the election of members of the town council. The bill makes organizational changes to provisions related to the election and appointment of town officers.

HB 1888 – Absentee voting; procedural and process reforms, availability and accessibility reforms, penalty. (January 8, 2021)

  • A bill sponsored by Delegate VanValkenburg that Makes various reforms to absentee voting processes and procedures, including those related to availability and accessibility. The bill requires certain actions to be taken to process absentee ballots returned before the day of an election, including verifying the correct completion of the voter affirmation statement, and provides for an opportunity for an absentee voter to make corrections to the statement in certain circumstances.
  • 13 – Y 9 – N

HB 1890 – Discrimination; prohibited in voting and elections administration, etc. (January 8, 2021)

  • A bill sponsored by Delegate Price that prohibits any voting qualification or any standard, practice, or procedure related to voting from being imposed or applied in a manner that results in the denial or abridgment of the right of any United States citizen to vote based on his race or color or membership in a language minority group.
  • 13 – Y 9 – N

HB 1921 – Assistance for certain voters; curbside voting. (January 20, 2021)

  • A bill sponsored by Delegate Price that clarifies that any voter with a permanent physical disability, temporary physical disability, or injury is entitled to vote outside of the polling place.
  • 22 – Y 0 – N

HB 1952 – Campaign finance; prohibited personal use, child care exception. (January 27, 2021)

  • A bill sponsored by Delegate Simon that Prohibits any person from converting any moneys, securities, or like intangible personal property contributed to a candidate or a candidate’s campaign committee to his personal use, the personal use of the candidate, or the personal use of a member of the candidate’s immediate family. Current law prohibits such conversion of contributions to personal use specifically with regard to disbursement of surplus funds at the dissolution of a campaign or political committee.
  • 22 – Y 0 -N

HB 1968 – Absentee voting; availability on Sundays in office of general registrar or voter satellite office. (January 20, 2021)

  • A bill sponsored by Delegate Bagby that permits the electoral board or general registrar of a county or city to provide absentee voting in person in the office of the general registrar or voter satellite office on Sundays.
  • 13 – Y 9 – N

HB 2020 – Nomination of candidates for elected offices; restrictions on nomination method selected. (January 27, 2021)

  • A bill sponsored by Delegate Helmer that provides that a method of nomination for elected office may not be selected if such method will have the practical effect of excluding participation in the nominating process by qualified voters who are unable to attend meetings because they are (i) a member of a uniformed service on active duty, (ii) temporarily residing outside of the United States, (iii) a student attending a school or institution of higher education, (iv) a person with a disability, or (v) a person who has a communicable disease of public health threat or who may have come in contact with a person with such disease.
  • 13 – Y 9 – N

HB 2081 – Polling places; prohibited activities, unlawful possession of a firearm, penalty. (January 20, 2021)

  • A bill sponsored by Delegate Levine that prohibits any person from knowingly possessing a firearm within 40 feet of any building, or part thereof, used as a polling place, including one hour before and one hour after its use as a polling place, except for (i) a qualified law-enforcement officer or retired law-enforcement officer, (ii) any person occupying his own private property that falls within 40 feet of the polling place, or (iii) a licensed armed security officer whose employment or performance of his duties occurs within 40 feet of the polling place.
  • 13 – Y 9 – N

 

Bills passed

  • HB 1749 Nassawadox, Town of; amending charter, updates to reflect town’s shift of municipal elections. Updates the charter for the Town of Nassawadox to reflect the town’s shift of municipal elections from May to November.
  • HB 1810 Voter registration; failure of online voter registration system, deadline extension. Virginia online voter registration system occurs prior to the close of registration records, the Governor has the authority to order the online voter registration system to be available for registration activities after the date for closing the registration records for a period of time equal to the amount of time during which the online voter registration system was unavailable for registration activities, rounded up to the nearest whole day, plus an additional day to allow for voter education efforts. The extension of registration activities shall apply to in-person registration and mail voter registration applications.
  • HB 1838 Loudoun County school board; staggered terms of its members. Enables the Loudoun County school board to stagger the terms of its members at the November election immediately preceding the end of the board’s term and upon the board’s prior vote for staggered terms.
  • HB 1858 Appomattox, Town of; amending charter, shifts local elections from May to November, etc. Shifts local elections for the Town of Appomattox from May to November and staggers the election of members of the town council. The bill makes organizational changes to provisions related to the election and appointment of town officers. This bill is identical to SB 1152.
  • HB 1888 Absentee voting; procedural and process reforms, availability and accessibility reforms, penalty. Makes various reforms to absentee voting processes and procedures, including those related to availability and accessibility. The bill requires certain actions to be taken to process absentee ballots returned before the day of an election, including verifying the correct completion of the voter affirmation statement, and provides for an opportunity for an absentee voter to make corrections to the statement in certain circumstances. The bill requires the establishment of drop-off locations for the return of voted absentee ballots. Additionally, a central absentee voter precinct is required to be established in each locality; currently, establishment is optional. On the day of the election, officers of election are required to begin processing absentee ballots in the central absentee voter precincts prior to the close of polls, but no ballot vote counts are permitted to be transmitted outside of the central absentee voter precinct before the close of polls; a violation of such prohibition is a Class 1 misdemeanor. When reporting election results to the Department of Elections, the general registrars are required to report absentee ballots cast early in person separately from all other absentee ballots. Additionally, a voter who has applied for and received an absentee ballot may choose to instead vote at his polling place on election day, and such voter shall be entitled to cast a provisional ballot. The bill requires a ballot marking tool with screen reader assistive technology to be made available for absentee voters with a print disability. Restrictions on the availability of absentee voting for first-time voters who registered by mail are repealed. The bill contains technical amendments for organizational and readability purposes.
  • HB 1890 Discrimination; prohibited in voting and elections administration, etc. Prohibits any voting qualification or any standard, practice, or procedure related to voting from being imposed or applied in a manner that results in the denial or abridgment of the right of any United States citizen to vote based on his race or color or membership in a language minority group. The bill further prohibits at-large methods of election from being imposed or applied in a locality in a manner that impairs the ability of a protected class, defined in the bill, to elect candidates of its choice or to influence the outcome of an election, by diluting or abridging the rights of voters who are members of a protected class. Prior to enacting or administering a covered practice, defined in the bill, the governing body of a locality is required to publish the proposed covered practice and accept public comment for a minimum of 30 days on the proposed covered practice; after the public comment period, a 30-day waiting period is required. During this period, any person who will be subject to or affected by the covered practice may challenge the covered practice as (i) having the purpose or effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on the basis of race or color or membership in a language minority group or (ii) resulting in the retrogression in the position of members of a racial or ethnic group with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise. The bill permits the local governing body to instead submit the proposed covered practice to the Office of the Attorney General for issuance of a certification of no objection and, once such certification is issued, to enact or administer the covered practice. Certain unlawful actions, including knowingly communicating false information to voters, that are currently subject to criminal penalties will create civil causes of action under the bill. The bill authorizes the Attorney General to commence civil actions when there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of an election law has occurred and the rights of any voter or group of voters have been affected by the violation. Civil penalties assessed as a result of such action are payable to the Voter Education and Outreach Fund, established by the bill. Current provisions related to language minority accessibility are moved to a newly created chapter relating to the rights of voters.
  • HB 1921 Assistance for certain voters; curbside voting. Clarifies that any voter with a permanent physical disability, temporary physical disability, or injury is entitled to vote outside of the polling place. The bill further provides that during a declared state of emergency related to a communicable disease of public health threat, any voter is entitled to vote outside of the polling place. The bill requires that the area designated for voting outside of the polling place be clearly marked and instructions on how the voter is to notify an officer of election of his request to vote outside of the polling place be prominently displayed. The bill makes technical amendments for clarity and organizational purposes.
  • HB 1968 Absentee voting; availability on Sundays in office of general registrar or voter satellite office. Permits the electoral board or general registrar of a county or city to provide absentee voting in person in the office of the general registrar or voter satellite office on Sundays.
  • HB 2020 Nomination of candidates for elected offices; restrictions on nomination method selected. Provides that a method of nomination for elected office may not be selected if such method will have the practical effect of excluding participation in the nominating process by qualified voters who are unable to attend meetings because they are (i) a member of a uniformed service on active duty, (ii) temporarily residing outside of the United States, (iii) a student attending a school or institution of higher education, (iv) a person with a disability, or (v) a person who has a communicable disease of public health threat or who may have come in contact with a person with such disease.. However, such restriction does not apply when selecting a candidate for a special election or nominating a candidate, or in the event that no candidate files the required paperwork by the prescribed deadline. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2024.
  • HB 2081 Polling places; prohibited activities, unlawful possession of a firearm, penalty. Prohibits any person from knowingly possessing a firearm within 40 feet of any building, or part thereof, used as a polling place, including one hour before and one hour after its use as a polling place, except for (i) a qualified law-enforcement officer or retired law-enforcement officer, (ii) any person occupying his own private property that falls within 40 feet of the polling place, or (iii) a licensed armed security officer whose employment or performance of his duties occurs within 40 feet of the polling place. The bill further provides that no person shall knowingly possess a firearm within 40 feet of a meeting place for the local electoral board while the electoral board meets to ascertain the results of an election or any place used as the setting for a recount. A violation of the provisions of the bill is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • HB 2125 Voter registration; preregistration for persons 16 years of age or older, effective date. Permits a person who is otherwise qualified to register to vote and is 16 years of age or older, but who will not be 18 years of age on or before the day of the next general election, to preregister to vote. The preregistration does not entitle such person to vote in any election except as already permitted by law. The bill requires the Department of Elections to maintain a record of all preregistered voters in the Virginia voter registration system, which shall automatically register a person who is preregistered upon that person reaching 18 years or age or becoming eligible for advance registration as already permitted by law, whichever comes first. The bill requires the Department to provide to the general registrars voter confirmation documents for such voters. The bill has a delayed effective date of October 1, 2022.
  • HB 2198 Local elections for governing bodies; elections for school boards, qualification of voters. Provides that in a locality that imposes district-based or ward-based residency requirements for members of the governing body or school board, the member elected from each district or ward is to be elected by the qualified voters of that district or ward and not by the locality at large. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2022.

Commissions

Commission on Civic Education

Source: Webpage

The purposes of the Commission are to (i) educate students on the importance of citizen involvement in a representative democracy, (ii) promote the study of state and local government among the Commonwealth’s citizenry, and (iii) enhance communication and collaboration among organizations in the Commonwealth that conduct civics education.

Subcommittees

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