I visited the General Assembly this morning and attended the meeting of the Elections Subcommittee of the Privileges and Elections Committee of the House of Delegates. The subcommittee was considering several pieces of legislation, but I only had battery power enough to capture two of them. HB21 was not controversial and was quickly disposed of. Next, the subcommittee considered HB9. Here's how the bill is described on Richmond Sunlight:
Elections; voting procedures; voter identification requirements; provisional ballots. Provides that a voter who is unable to present one of the enumerated forms of identification may sign a sworn statement that he is the named registered voter he claims to be and then be allowed to vote a provisional ballot. Present law allows such a voter to vote an official rather than provisional ballot after signing such statement.It sounds pretty innocuous, but nationwide the GOP is flooding state legislatures with bills like this one for the sole purpose of interfering with the American people's right to vote. The GOP's actions in this regard are shameful. The video is kind of slow going at first and the sound quality is poor, but if you are patient you can listen to a parade of concerned citizens who wanted to comment on the bill.
The room where the subcommittee met was far too small and the crowd of people who attended the stretched out into the hallway. The crowd included the Mayor of Richmond Dwight Jones and Councilwoman Ellen Robertson was among the commenters. Despite overwhelmingly negative responses to the bill, the GOP majority on the subcommittee voted to report the bill to the entire House Privileges and Elections Committee, so the bill advances.