General Assembly passes bills to make absentee voting easier

General Assembly passes bills to make absentee voting easier

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia General Assembly is on track to help you out at the polls this November. Millions of dollars could be on the way to make sure your vote is counted.

The state House and Senate both approved similar bills Friday that would infuse the Virginia Department of Elections with $2 million. The move would cover the costs of the 55 cent stamp you would need to get your ballot back to your local voter registrar’s office.

The bills would also establish drop box locations where people can drop off their ballots themselves leading up to Election Day.

The vote was split along party lines with Democrats coming out with a victory. Democrats say the move will make absentee voting easier during the pandemic and help with concerns over mail delays.

“We’re trying to ensure that people are staying safe as possible and standing in long lines is not that,” said Del. Dawn Adams, (D) 68th District. “You cannot stay as safe as possible, you cannot like effectively social distance.”

Republicans lawmakers worry that security issues around drop box locations will drive up costs and more money will actually be needed as the state faces a $2.7 billion shortfall over the next two years.

“I just feel like that with our K-12 needs, in particular, hopefully, we’re going to supply money there not only school openings but with things like helping parents through this pandemic, this is just not a wise use of money,” said Del. Kirk Cox, (R) 66th District.

This is pretty much a done deal but still has to survive crossover day during the special session, which still needs to be set, and eventually be signed by Governor Ralph Northam.

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