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McDonnell Proposes Election Reforms

Anita Kumar

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) unveiled a package of election reforms today that would reduce long lines at polls and add more election officials to count ballots.

Proposals also include adding more voting precints, overturning a ban on political clothing while in a polling place and creating guidelines to improve the accuracy of voter registration lists to ensure residens, including college students, are not registered in more than one location.

McDonnell, who is the Republican nominee for governor next year, and Lt. Gov Bill Bolling (R) will also propose changes to the mailing and counting of military absentee
ballots.

"Democracy is alive and well in Virginia. We saw that clearly this past Election Day with a record number of first-time voters,'' McDonnell said. "However, for our democratic process to stay healthy we must constantly seek prudent reforms and improvements based on what we learn each election."

State legislators would have to approve the proposals. The General Assembly returns to the state Capaitol Jan. 14 for a 45-day session.

By Anita Kumar  |  December 16, 2008; 12:44 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Comments

Reform, yes. Disenfranchisement, no.

Make sure list are accurate. Don't manipulate the lists to prevent eligible citizens from voting. Make sure people don't vote twice, but also make sure they can vote once.

If this is actually reform, it will have bipartisan support.

Posted by: GregCleveland | December 16, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

How about no excuse absentee voting? I didn't see that on the list of reforms.

Posted by: sensible | December 16, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree with "sensible." The biggest reform needed is a change to no-excuse absentee-in-person voting (which is usually called early voting), in place of the current excuse-needed absentee-in-person system, which adds needless confusion and limits who can vote early.

Florida made the change to early voting after the 2000 fiasco and while it has not eliminated lines, it has reduced logistical problems there dramatically. I believe early voting is now the rule in the majority of states.

I see no reason to keep adding reasons or excuses to "tweak" the availability of the current absentee-in-person option; it should simply be permitted for all voters. Issues about the cost and security of extra polling places have already been addressed in the system we currently have for absentee-in-person voting. Early voting makes better use of that investment of resources, improves access for voters, and vastly shortens the lines on election day.

Political parties on both sides also like it because they can be more focused in their "get out the vote" drives for the election once so many voters have already acted.

Let's do it!

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | December 16, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Early voting, yes! "Reform" to address nonexistent voter fraud, no!

Posted by: jimeh | December 16, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Election reform? How about letting a non-partisan group redistrict the state? Redistricting, as it is done now, isn't done to help elect a representational government, it's done to keep those in power IN power.

Posted by: IrishRose | December 17, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

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