RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) –Gov. Ralph Northam signed new bills into law today that expand Virginian’s access to voting.
The measures repeal Virginia’s voter ID law, expand early access to voting and make Election Day a state holiday.
“Voting is a fundamental right, and these new laws strengthen our democracy by making it easier to cast a ballot, not harder,” Northam said. “No matter who you are or where you live in Virginia, your voice deserves to be heard. I’m proud to sign these bills into law.”
Here are the bills Northam signed:
- House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 111 — These bills allow people to vote early 45 days before an election without a stated excuse. Virginia currently requires absentee voters to provide the state with an approved reason they can’t vote on Election Day.
- House Bill 19 and Senate Bill 65 — The bills remove the requirement for voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot. “Voter ID laws disenfranchise individuals who may not have access to photo identification and disproportionately impact low-income individuals, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities,” the governer’s announcment said.
- House Bill 108 and Senate Bill 601 — This makes Election Day a state holiday to help ensure every Virginian has the time and opportunity to cast their ballot. In order to maintain the same number of state holidays, this bill also repeals Lee-Jackson Day holiday.
- House Bill 235 and Senate Bill 219 –These create automatic voter registration for people who use the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office or the DMV website for any kind of service.
- House Bill 238 and House Bill 239 — Northam’s announcement said the bills expand the timelines for absentee voting to ensure access to the polls.
- House Bill 1678 — This bill will extend in-person polling hours, having them end at 8 p.m. rather than 7 p.m.
Earlier today, Northam also signed new criminal justice reform bills into law. These bills included no longer letting driver’s licenses be suspended for non-driving related offenses and raising the age a juvenile can be tried as an adult without court approval.
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