Early voting bill quickly tabled by House, not likely to returnBy Dave Forster The Virginian-Pilot Jan 20 2009
The latest attempts to allow early voting and easier absentee voting in Virginia faltered out of the gate Monday while a measure to restore voting rights to nonviolent felons barely survived.
A Republican-controlled House subcommittee tabled most of the bills, which means they likely won't return in the six-week legislative session that started Wednesday. Similar bills have failed in past years.
Republicans argued that the 17 excuses people can use to cast an absentee ballot before an election already address the conflicts people may have.
"Just because you don't feel like voting" on Election Day isn't a good enough reason for early voting, said Del. John Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake, chairman of the subcommittee that tabled the bills.
Virginia Board of Elections Secretary Nancy Rodrigues supported the measures. She said the absentee form is becoming an "administrative nightmare" for time-sapped registrars, and the proposals are popular with the public.
"At some point we just have to recognize the fact that Virginians are very, very much in favor of voting early," Rodrigues said.