Alliance for Progressive Values Monitoring 2013 General Assembly Voting and Election Bills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Victoria Bragunier
804-517-5206
vbragunier@apvonline.org

Alliance for Progressive Values Monitoring 2013 General Assembly Voting and Election Bills

The 2013 Virginia General Assembly has only been in session since January 9th, but much has happened. One of the most disturbing trends this session has been the number of bills introduced with the sole purpose of disenfranchising voters. APV believes that voting and elections are a fundamental right and imperative to our democratic system of government.

Below is a list of voting and election bills that APV is monitoring. Please pay special attention to the bills we oppose as these bills will have a chilling effect on voters. Each bill listed includes a mini synopsis, along with APV’s position.

SB 719 Polling place procedures; voter identification requirements:
Removes several items from the list of acceptable identification documents that a voter must present when voting at the polls on election day: a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck that shows the name and address of the voter. These documents continue to be valid identification for certain first-time voters at federal elections who are required to show identification under the Help America Vote Act of 2002. APV opposes this bill.

SB 723 Electoral College; State’s electoral votes shall be allocated by congressional district:
Provides that the Commonwealth’s electoral votes shall be allocated by congressional district. Receipt by a slate of presidential electors of the highest number of votes in a congressional district constitutes the election of the congressional district elector of that slate. Receipt by a slate of electors of the highest number of votes in a majority of congressional districts constitutes the election of the two at-large electors of that slate. In the event no slate receives the highest number of votes in a majority of districts, receipt by a slate of the highest number of votes statewide shall constitute election of the two at-large electors of that slate. APV opposes this bill.

SB 1072 Elections; electronic pollbooks, photographs:
Provides that electronic pollbooks shall contain a photograph of and identifying information for each voter either received from the Department of Motor Vehicles or taken by an officer of election when the voter presents himself to vote that shall be accessed by the officer of election when the voter presents himself to vote. If the voter does not appear to be the same person depicted in the photograph in the pollbook, any qualified voter may and the officer of election shall challenge the vote of such voter. A voter with religious objections to being photographed may refuse to have his photograph taken. APV opposes this bill.

SB 739 Mechanical and electronic voting devices; number required:
Provides that there shall be at least one voting device for each 500 registered voters in precinct. The current requirement is for one device for each 750 registered voters. APV supports this bill.

SB 968 Absentee ballots; officers of election shall not reject ballot if middle name is not on envelope:
Provides that officers of election shall not reject an absentee ballot on the basis that the voter failed to include a middle name or initial on the ballot envelope if such failure is not material to determining whether the individual is entitled to vote absentee. APV supports this bill.

SB 1008 Voter registration; registration activities by third parties:
Requires individuals and groups conducting voter registration drives to register with the State Board of Elections or local offices, provide information as required by the State Board, receive training, and execute a sworn affidavit that they will abide by all Virginia voter registration laws and rules. The bill also prohibits pre-populating registration applications with information unless directed by the applicant to do so. Finally, the bill reduces the time limit for mailing or delivering such completed applications from 15 to 10 days. APV opposes this bill.

SB 1145 Absentee ballots; confirmation of receipt.
Requires the Secretary of the State Board of Elections, in coordination with local election officials, to implement a free-access system by which a voter may determine whether his application for an absentee ballot has been received and accepted and whether his absentee ballot has been received and the current status of the absentee ballot. APV supports this bill.

SJ 266 Constitutional amendment (first resolution); restoration of civil rights:
Authorizes the General Assembly to provide by law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies who have completed service of their sentences subject to the conditions, requirements, and definitions set forth in that law. The present Constitution provides for restoration of rights by the Governor. The amendment retains the right of the Governor to restore civil rights and adds the alternative for restoration of rights pursuant to law. APV supports this bill.

HB 259 House of Delegates Districts; technical adjustments in boundaries:
Makes technical changes in House of Delegates Districts 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 42, 43, 44, 45, 47, 49, 50, 51, 52, 55, 59, 60, 64, 67, 75, 87, and 99 in order to eliminate split voting precincts and otherwise facilitate administration of legislative elections by local officials. All districts remain within one percent deviation of the ideal population. APV opposes this bill.

HB 1599 Vote Centers; pilot program:
Authorizes the State Board of Elections to provide for a pilot program in which localities may establish vote centers for use in primary elections instead of having to operate a polling place for every precinct in the locality. A vote center will consist of a location where voters from two or more designated precincts may vote. The State Board shall publish a report on the program by August 15 of any year in which a vote center is used. The provisions of the bill expire on December 31, 2016. APV opposes this bill.

HB 1725 Absentee voting; handling of absentee ballot applications by third parties:
Requires any person who offers to mail or deliver 25 or more absentee ballot applications to first register with the State Board of Elections, receive training, and include a specified notice and information to applicants. The bill includes requirements for the timely return of applications. Failure to comply with these requirements is a Class 4 misdemeanor; destruction of or failure to mail an application is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Also, any person who knowingly aids or abets, or attempts to aid or abet, a violation of the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act is guilty of a Class 4 felony. APV opposes this bill.

HB 1747 Voter registration; registration activities by third parties:
Requires individuals and groups conducting voter registration drives to register with the State Board of Elections or local offices, provide information as required by the State Board, receive training, and execute a sworn affidavit that they will abide by all Virginia voter registration laws and rules. The bill also prohibits pre-populating registration applications with information unless directed by the applicant to do so. Finally, the bill reduces the time limit for mailing or delivering such completed applications from 15 to 10 days. APV opposes this bill.

HB 2107 Absentee ballot procedures and count; requires prompt counting immediately after close of polls:
Requires the prompt counting of absentee ballots immediately after the close of the polls and advance steps by the general registrar to prepare for the prompt counting of absentee ballots. APV supports this bill.

HB 2143 Voting; absentee ballot application and provisional ballot envelope information:
Specifies that only the last four digits of an individual’s social security number are to appear on the green envelope into which a provisional ballot is placed and that only the last four digits shall be required for absentee ballot applications. Clarifying language also is added to emphasize that provisional ballot envelopes are to be placed in the ballot container promptly. APV supports this bill.

To see a list of bills APV is monitoring please check out our Richmond Sunlight page.

Oyster Roast

The Alliance for Progressive Values welcomes members of the Virginia legislature and their staffs from across the Commonwealth to Richmond for the 2013 General Assembly with an Oyster Roast. Come out for good food and fellowship and a chance to talk with your elected representatives over some fresh oysters and a beer.

Thursday
January 31st, 6-9 p.m. at:

The Eric Schindler Gallery
2305 East Broad Street,
(804) 644-5005.

$10 for APV members
$25 for general public

Free for GA members and staff

Oysters and beer are included in the cost.

For more information or to RSVP please see our Facebook event page.

URGENT, Pro Choice bills rushed to Senate Committee

Tomorrow, with little to no warning the Senate Education and Health Committee will hear all the Senate bills that deal with women’s reproductive rights. There are bills that would repeal TRAP, repeal the ultrasound bill from last year and guarantee access to contraceptives. Tomorrow is APV’s lobby day and we will have representatives on hand to speak to this legislation. Come with us or join us there. The opposition’s goal is to sweep these bills away with little time for public reaction. DON’T LET THEM DO IT!!! These bills are:

Virginia General Assembly Building, 9th and Broad St.
Date of Meeting: January 17, 2013
Time and Place: 8:30 AM – Senate Room B

S.B. 783 APV SUPPORTS
Patron: McEachin
Birth control; definition. Adds a definition of birth control. “Birth control” means contraceptive methods that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Birth control shall not be considered abortion for the purposes of Title 18.2.

S.B. 826 APV OPPOSES
Patron: Garrett
Funding for certain abortions. Repeals the section authorizing the Board of Health to fund abortions for women who meet the financial eligibility criteria of the State Plan for Medical Assistance in cases in which a physician certifies that he believes that the fetus would be born with a gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or mental deficiency.

S.B. 1080 APV SUPPORTS
Patrons: Favola, Northam
Ultrasound imaging. Provides that no law or regulation of the Commonwealth or administrative action of an agent of the Commonwealth shall require that a person receive ultrasound imaging for nonmedical reasons or ultrasound imaging that is not medically indicated as a condition of receiving a medical procedure.

S.B. 1082 APV SUPPORTS
Patrons: Northam, Favola
Ultrasound prior to abortion. Removes the requirement that a woman undergo a transabdominal ultrasound prior to an abortion.

S.B. 1115 APV SUPPORTS
Patron: Herring
Classification as hospitals of certain facilities in which abortions are performed. Eliminates language classifying facilities in which five or more first trimester abortions per month are performed as hospitals for the purpose of compliance with regulations of the Board of Health related to construction, maintenance, operation, staffing, and equipping of hospitals.

S.B. 1116 APV SUPPORTS
Patron: Herring
Design and construction standards for certain facilities. Provides that regulations of the Board of Health for the construction, maintenance, operation, staffing, and equipping of hospitals shall apply to facilities in which five or more first trimester abortions per month are performed only when the design or construction of such facility is initiated after July 1, 2013. This bill includes an emergency clause.

APV’s New Year’s Fund Drive

We have a very busy year ahead of us at APV, starting with the Virginia General Assembly in January. APV will have a strong presence at this year’s GA, working for sensible gun laws, clean elections, women’s reproductive rights, clean & renewable energy, a continuation of the uranium mining ban and equality for our LGBTQ friends and family. We need your help to do this effectively. Can you make a donation today to keep APV’s progressive voice front and center in Richmond in 2013?

DonationsTracker.com - Live Donations Tracking for Alliance for Progress Values, New Years Fund Drive
DonationsTracker.com - Make a Donation to Alliance for Progress Values, New Years Fund Drive
 

Speak Loud with Silence M3 Rally

Photo:Mark Brown

Today Saturday, March 3rd 2012, over a thousand people protested at the Capitol in Richmond against the continuing assault on women’s reproductive rights. Speakers from NOW Virginia, Women’s Strike Force PAC and Alliance for Progressive Values spoke before a well behaved and attentive crowd that included mothers with children, students and many women from the generation that fought for and won many of our fundamental reproductive rights. Ostensibly, the rally was in opposition to HB462, which mandates an unnecessary and medically useless ultrasound for a woman seeking an abortion. APV has worked hard against this poorly contrived piece of legislation that claims to provide women with more information about their pregnancy while in fact acting only to place further barriers between Virginia women and their right to choose. APV’s position on HB462 is spelled out in our petition to the Governor here, which we urge you to sign, but in fact this rally was about the ongoing war on birth control and abortion that has been waged throughout the 2012 session here in Richmond. Numerous bills that would make abortion illegal, make birth control illegal, potentially require police investigations of miscarriages, and end funding for women on Medicaid who’s pregnancies have gone terribly wrong and most be terminated, have come through the legislature, and we have been successful in defeating almost all of them. But the struggle continues. This year we have seen a full court press against the most fundamental of human rights, the right to control one’s own body. Today, as the session winds down, APV members once again stood alongside our brothers and sisters from across the state to implore our elected officials to come to their senses and stop this head long slide aback into the dark ages to paraphrase pro-choice Senator Janet Howell. We are deeply gratified at the large turn out to this peaceful protest and we want to thank the organizers, some of whom are APV members, for their hard work. However the Governor decides to deal with HB462, we want you to know that we will not go away. We are pledged to stand up against those who would try and turn back the clock on reproductive rights, this year, next year and always. Thank you everyone who came out and everyone who was there in spirit.