RICHMOND, VA (WRIC) – After lawmakers rejected Gov. Ralph Northam’s request to move the May elections to November, the Governor pushed the date back himself.
The Governor has signed an executive order moving back local and state elections scheduled for May 5 to May 19. The Commonwealth’s constitution empowers Virginia’s governor to move an election back two weeks without the General Assembly’s approval.
Northam says he was grateful the House of Delegates approved his suggestion to move the election to November but he was disappointed that the Senate did not support the change amid the current pandemic and social distancing guidelines.
Northam says, “Elections are vital to democracy and so is the right to vote. Virginian’s should not have to choose between their ballot and their health.”
The governor also said he did not want a scene in Virginia like in Wisconsin two weeks ago where people were waiting in line for hours trying to social distance in order to vote.
The last day to request an absentee ballot is being extended to May 12 and the governor encourages everyone to vote that way.
“I strongly encourage you to vote absentee by mail. For people who do come out we will make it as safe as possible,” Northam said.
The Virginia Medical Reserve Corp, a group of medical volunteers, will help with the election and election workers will be supplied personal protective equipment (PPE).
Absentee ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on May 19, the day of the election.
For more information on requesting an absentee ballot visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.
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