Kaine announces support for early voting measure

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

Posted by Colby Rogers

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Gov. Tim Kaine announced his support Wednesday for a proposal which would allow voters to cast their vote early by absentee ballot without an excuse.

Long lines of voters requesting absentee ballots leading up to election day made life easier for voters on Nov. 4.

"It did thin out the lines," said Henrico Registrar Mark Coakley, "by 4 o'clock to 7 p.m. no one was waiting."

Coakley, who was on the voting front lines in 2008, says he was thankful for the high number of early voters. But he says the practice would be even better if voters weren't forced to meet special circumstances that make them eligible for absentee ballots.

"If you could just come in and give us your ID and say, 'I am here to vote,' we'll give you a ballot - a real simple process," Coakley said.

This isn't the first time that early voting measures have been proposed in Virginia. Other early voting measures have died in the House of Delegates in years past because House procedure allowed some bills to be bottled up in committee, keeping members from casting a vote.
House Leadership has said they will end that practice this session, a move that Gov. Kaine says gives a bill like the early voting measure new life.

"I frankly think that if you are going to have to record votes on something like this, that is so obviously a good government measure, designed to increase participation with the support of the electoral boards and the registrars," Kaine said. "Gosh, why would we be against it?"

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