Del Price Responds to Hearing on Election Readiness
Del. Price Responds to Today’s Joint Privileges and Elections Committee Hearing on Election Readiness
October 13, 2016
Contact: Tempestt Boone 757-266-5935
RICHMOND, VA - Today, both the Senate and House Privileges and Elections committees met jointly in a last minute meeting, called less than 30 days before the election. With such a short timeline before elections and a subsequent lack of feasible short term solutions offered (ones that don’t involve shutting down tools that help the voter), it is unclear as to what we accomplished as far as solutions. The meeting occurred on the same day that the Republican Presidential Nominee paired down his campaign efforts in Virginia. I am hoping that this meeting was not an attempt to cast undue doubt on the integrity of Virginia’s elections system because of declining polling numbers for a particular candidate.
We have to move forward with long-term thinking to deal with any real issues within the elections system. I was relieved to hear the registrars that testified today said they will be ready for Election Day. Moving forward, our solutions must address the root causes. For example, if duplicate applications are a drain on the system, we need to fix the reasons why some of the voters are resubmitting their registration applications causing duplication. If we are concerned with an influx of late registrations, we need to educate better our electorate as it pertains to the deadlines. We cannot, as was suggested, close down online and DMV registrations on October 17, 2016. This would suppress the increase in registrations that we are experiencing. Further, we would not be in compliance with the federal Motor Voter Law (Section 5). In any solution that we seek, the burden of the implementation of that solution should not be carried by the voter. We must find a way to support the registrars so they can better do their job without a negative impact on the voter's access to tools and education.
Today, there was a parade of anecdotes, at a time where we need comprehensive thinking with data and solutions. The data that was presented showed that the online voter registration citizen portal is working and that more voters are participating in the political process. Some Republicans today constantly tried to blame any issues in the system on the influx of participation, to include participation of those whose rights have recently been restored. The increasing rate at which voters are registering shows that they want to be a part of the process and want their voice heard. It is incumbent upon us to make sure we are not suppressing that participation. An influx of voter participation must be seen as a positive and not as a threat!
The answers that we did hear today involve investing in the elections infrastructure with more dollars for staffing and resources. During next session, we will need to look at ways to better support our registrars financially, if in fact our elections are as important to us as we stated today.