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.
Some of the laws that passed during this year's General Assembly session did so with little fanfare. Others gained lots of attention initially but received little follow-up—and one lawmaker sponsored two such bills. While you may not hear much about them now, they're likely to become hot topics in the near future since that lawmaker is running for higher office.