RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — State lawmakers gave a glimpse of the political gridlock to come over Virginia’s election laws Tuesday.
House Republicans advanced measures to curtail early voting and stop the use of ballot drop boxes while Senate Democrats struck down several proposals to change Virginia’s voting rules.
For any of the bills to be signed into law, they must go through both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly. With Republicans controlling the House of Delegates and Democrats in the majority in the state Senate, any effort to change the state’s voting laws is expected to be blocked.
The Virginia Senate Privileges and Elections Committee — made up of nine Democrats and six Republicans — rejected bills Tuesday that would require voters to show a photo ID to cast a ballot and cut down the 45-day window for early voting.
“While Republicans continue to try and roll back voting rights, Senate Democrats will remain steadfast in their defense of protecting a Virginian’s right to participate in their elections,” state Sen. Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake), who chairs the committee, said in a statement.
Most of the committee’s votes were down party lines. But Republican state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (Fauquier) sided with Democrats when the panel killed a bill from state Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Hanover) to limit in-person absentee voting to seven days before the election and a proposal from state Sen. Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg) to limit same-day voter registration.
The Senate committee voted down a slew of bills from state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), a legislator known for denying the results of the 2020 presidential election and who sought a $70 million audit of the election.
Chase proposed bills to ban drop-off locations for absentee ballots, require a forensic audit of elections and end the use of permanent absentee voter lists. All were rejected by the committee.
Over in the House of Delegates, a subcommittee of the Elections and Privileges panel moved forward bills on Tuesday that would cut early voting to two weeks before the election and end the use of drop boxes.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates.