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Cuccinelli weighs in on some election questions just before vote

Rosalind Helderman

On the eve of Tuesday's election, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is out with two new opinions related to voting, both issued in response to questions from local registrars.

In one opinion, Cuccinelli writes that neither state nor federal law requires that election officials be posted outside polling places to assist voters who are elderly or disabled.

State law does require that elections officials bring ballots to the cars of elderly and disabled voters when they request the assistance, he writes, allowing them to engage in "curbside" voting.

He writes that elections officials must promptly move to assist voters when they ask for help -- either by entering the polling place to ask for help, sending a friend inside to ask on their behalf or calling ahead. But, in a response to an inquiry from the secretary of the Richmond Electoral Board, he said the law does not require that officials stand outside, awaiting the arrival of disabled or elderly voters.

In another opinion, Cuccinelli deals with this hypothetical question: What if a voter casts an absentee ballot but then dies before before Election Day arrives? Should the absentee ballot count?

It's hard to imagine that this situation arises all that often. But Robin R. Lind, secretary of the Goochland Electoral Board, asked what to do in such circumstances.

In reply, Cuccinelli wrote that voters must be qualified to cast a ballot on Election Day for their vote to count. A person who is not alive on Election Day is not qualified to vote -- even if they passed away just before Election Day and managed to first cast an absentee ballot. Therefore, he writes that a registrar who learns of the death of a voter is required to cancel his or her registration and discard their absentee ballot.

However, he notes that under some voting systems, voters who vote absentee in person before Election Day often use electronic voting machines. He noted that in such cases, it would be impossible to set aside the votes of the deceased voters.

"Election officials are not otherwise required to perform the impossible task of not counting the deceased voter's absentee ballot," Cuccinelli writes.

By Rosalind Helderman  | November 1, 2010; 3:32 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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