Governor wants to repeal photo ID law, expand absentee voting

Updated: Jan. 10, 2017 at 7:10 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Governor McAuliffe wants to make voting more accessible to Virginia voters and repeal the photo ID requirement.

The Governor announced on Tuesday a package of bills he hopes to get passed this General Assembly session, joined by Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and several of the legislators who have patroned the bills.

McAuliffe said in addition to repealing the photo ID requirement, he wants to eliminate the requirement that voters meet one of 13 criteria to use an absentee ballot. The bill would allow in-person absentee voting to any voter beginning 21 days before an election.

"Why do we come up with these 13 arbitrary rules as the only way you can go in and do absentee voting?" asked Governor McAuliffe. "If you want to vote early, you ought to be able to vote early."

If that measure should not pass, the Governor and the First Lady urged that absentee ballots also be granted to caregivers caring for children or other non-relatives and to those who lack transportation.

"Anyone who has raised a child can attest to the fact that child care, paid for or not, is a full time job, and that taking a child or multiple children to vote is not always possible for a parent or caregiver," said Dorothy McAuliffe.

The Governor also plans to continue his work toward ethics reform. He announced he will push once again to ban political candidates from using campaign donations for personal expenses.

"Loopholes and workarounds in our campaign finance laws are a disservice to the constituents we were elected to serve," Lieutenant Governor Northam added. "Virginians deserve to know that their representatives are held to the highest standards of ethics."

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