The Chairman of the State Board of Elections has announced to fellow elections officials that the Board was dropping plans to make it easier for felons and non-citizens to register to vote.
As we reported on July 28, the State Board of Elections was poised to adopt rules changes that would remove the requirement for applicants to register to vote to affirmatively indicate they were U.S. citizens and not felons whose voting rights had been suspended. On Wednesday, SBE Chairman James Alcorn wrote to fellow elections officials that he was pulling consideration of the new regulation from the Board’s September 1 agenda.
The Bull Elephant has obtained a copy of the Alcorn email in which the Democrat chairman made his announcement. Although Alcorn expressed a preference to make it easier for prospective voters to deal with the Constitutional requirements to affirm that the voter is a citizen of the United States, the chairman recognized the substantive concerns raised through the tremendous outpouring of public comments regarding the rules change:
As Chair of the Board, I have reviewed the public comments submitted regarding the voter registration application and associated regulations. (http://goo.gl/UqgvWg) In response to the substantive concerns raised, I am pulling the proposal from the Boardâ€™s September agenda. The proposal needs substantive work before the Board can review any potential changes and this issue requires more time for proper analysis. I am asking staff of the Department of Elections to work in a collaborative fashion with the broader elections community to develop any future changes to the voter registration application and associated regulations.
Since 2011, Virginia general registrars have denied over 100,000 voter registration applications due to missing information. A personâ€™s ability to register to vote should be judged on their legal qualifications and not on their ability to complete an administrative form. This problem persists and we should work together to make it easier for all qualified Virginians to participate in the electoral process. Iâ€™m interested in hearing your ideas about how to address this issue that affects too many Virginians.
To facilitate this discussion, I am asking the Department of Elections to conduct an analysis on the rejection of voter registration forms; to provide findings to the Board at a future meeting; and to release the data and findings via the Department’s website so it is easily accessible to all stakeholders.
So, we’re not out of the woods yet. Â But, clearly McAuliffe and his SBE understand that there was an overreach that would not go unnoticed, so next time their attempt to facilitate “easier” voting (i.e., voter fraud or making voter fraud more difficult to prosecute) will have to be more subtle. Â That means we need to keep on our toes and not let these folks get away with their mission to undermine the integrity of the vote in Virginia.
We atÂ The Bull ElephantÂ will continue to be at the forefront of these issues, and we will keep you informed.
Finally, a great thanks is owed to Sen. Tom Garrett for being the leader who initially brought this to light and helped organize an active response,Â and to all of the other General Assembly members (Del. Tim Hugo and Del. Jim LeMunyon in particular) for all of the public and behind-the-scenes work to bring about this important (if temporary) victory. Â Also deserving the gratitude of conservatives everywhere (considering how crucial Virginia is to any presidential election) are Republican SBE member Clara Belle Wheeler, and RPV State Central member Keith Damon, whose efforts on this have been tireless and comprehensive. Â Thanks, guys!
Over 90% of the public commentsÂ SBE received on this issue opposed the new rules, which is a testament to the power ofÂ our grassroots and elected officials when deployed in a unified purpose.