Narrow house

Republican vote bills eliminate House subcommittee, stall Senate committee

RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) – With a divided government in Richmond, the House of Delegates and the state Senate are moving in different directions. That was evident on Tuesday as House and Senate committees considered issues of election integrity and easy access for voters.

Of the. Lee Ware (R-Powhatan) found a receptive audience among fellow Republicans on the House Privileges and Elections subcommittee that met Tuesday morning.

“We have a duty to protect the vote of every eligible voter, every eligible voter, from theft or dilution by fraudulent ballots,” Ware told the subcommittee.

Ware’s bill would restore the requirement for voters to provide valid photo ID.

Democrats defended Virginia’s electoral system and questioned whether the Republican ballot bills actually solved a legitimate problem.

“You know it strikes me when people say ‘restore faith in the electoral system,’ the best way to do that is for politicians and media personalities to just tell the truth about the security of our elections,” said Del Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-Henrico).

The House subcommittee voted to report Ware’s bill and send it to committee of the whole. 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 Democratic-controlled Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.

Senator Amanda Chase introduced several bills, including the repeal of same-day voter registration.

“What worries me is that we’ve basically opened the door to a lot of new changes to Virginia law that have a lot of our constituents worried,” she said.

The Democratic majority on the committee tabled every one of them.

And that’s how it should go with the ballot bills set to clear the House of Delegates this year.

Despite a narrow margin in the Senate, it looks like Democrats will be able to toe the line on their electoral reforms.

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