House GOP finishes off electoral reforms
Last month, the House Republican majority made short work of a number of initiatives aimed at easing voter access to the polls – for example, allowing early in-person voting and expanding absentee voting. They were swiftly killed (along with several redistricting reform bills) in a predawn subcommittee meeting that fell on the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday.
Today, the House GOP killed Senate versions of the same legislation. Sen. Janet Howell’s SB810 would have allowed registered voters to vote absentee for any reason, Sen. Louise Lucas’ SB819 would have allowed early, in-person voting beginning two weeks before Election Day, and Sen. John Miller’s SB1010 would have allowed registered voters over the age of 65 to vote absentee.
Sen. George Barker’s SB1230 would have provided for a court-ordered extension of polling hours in emergency situations.
Finally, Sen. Creigh Deeds’ SB926 would have established a Bipartisan Redistricting Commission.
While most passed the Senate by sizable margins (Sen. Deeds’ redistricting bill passed unanimously), all were killed this morning on party-line votes, with Republicans John Cosgrove, Chris Jones, Steve Landes and Jeff Frederick voting against Democrats Rosalyn Dance and David Englin.