Tuesday is primary election day, with two statewide offices and also 18 House of Delegates and local races on the ballot. The statewide election is a high-stakes one, where voters will choose the Democratic nominees for lieutenant governor and attorney general. But if history is any indicator, the candidates can expect a low voter turnout.
Although the General Assembly this year shot down one opportunity for Governor McDonnell to fulfill a campaign promise to restore the voting and civil rights of nonviolent felons, the Governor has found a way to sidestep lawmakers and make progress toward that goal. A day after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli unveiled his advisory report on the issue, McDonnell announced his own initiative.
Governor McDonnell has signed two bills into law that require more rigorous oversight of Virginia’s voter registration rolls.
He also signed a third law to require voters to present photo IDs at the polls, which would take effect in 2014.
This month, a former Maryland congressional candidate, Wendy Rosen, pleaded guilty to voting illegally in Maryland in two elections. She had also voted in Florida. A new Virginia law will make it harder to vote in two states, says the bill’s sponsor, Delegate Rob Bell.
The ACLU and the Libertarian Party have teamed up against Virginia to block a state law that requires candidate-petition circulators to be residents of the Commonwealth.
A federal judge has already ruled in favor of the ACLU-Libertarian position. ACLU attorneys believe if the state wins this appeal, it could prevent third-parties from gaining ground in the Commonwealth.
The Virginia Attorney General's office argued that allowing out-of-state residents to circulate petitions to get candidates on the ballot could open the floodgates for election fraud.