How Many Election Laws Does Herring Think He Can Unilaterally Suspend?
In a little noticed case, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has declared he has the right to unilaterally suspend Virginia election laws and has ordered that absentee ballots must be counted without the signature of a witness as required by law. The case arose when certain aggrieved plaintiffs demanded that due to the COVID-19 virus Virginia Election Laws Sections 24.2-706 and 24.2-707, requiring a signature by someone submitting an absentee ballot by mail, may be selectively enforced at the discretion of Herring. https://www.cbs19news.com/story/42066572/agreement-would-let-voters-in-june-primary-submit-absentee-ballot-without-witness-signature.
Herring agreed to settle the lawsuit pursuant to a proposed consent order in which he agreed to convince the court to obviate Virginia law regarding absentee ballots. Here is a copy of the unsigned consent order which now awaits a judge’s signature. https://files.constantcontact.com/bfcd0cef001/420b9b33-07c4-4e6d-be50-4b4181d8b040.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1QCZ5JPozMlbjtM7Vm1j0k1qC1KUg5GDCk9W57Jt2n9D_oEY1ExvUbVFc
This transparent ploy by Herring is what is known in the law as a sue and settle the case. That means the plaintiffs sue the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Attorney General of Virginia, in this case Mark Herring, agrees to settle the lawsuit on terms the plaintiffs requested because he is sympathetic to the plaintiffs’ political beliefs. I can find no authority under Virginia law that the emergency powers granted to the governor to combat a public health threat can be used to render Virginia’s election laws a nullity. As William Pitt the Younger observed, “necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” So should we judge the actions of Mark Herring.
I leave the resolution of this matter for the readers of The Bull Elephant to decide.