Allow Eligible Virginia Voters No Excuse Absentee Voting

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As citizens of Virginia, we urge the Virginia General Assembly to enact “no-excuse” absentee voting by mail and in person.  If enacted, the law would allow any registered voter to vote absentee in any election in which he or she is qualified to vote, without providing any reason.

Virginia now requires registered voters to apply for an absentee ballot and document a detailed excuse (e.g., a disability, pregnancy, etc.).  No absentee ballot voter should have to disclose personal information, which then becomes public record, to exercise their right to vote.  Our privacy rights should not be traded for our right to vote.

Voting is a fundamental right.  We need to provide flexibility in our voting options for registered voters who cannot afford lost wages or transportation costs or arrange for child care during the work week.  It is morally wrong to impede one class of citizens from voting.  No excuse absentee voting will remove these artificial barriers, making voting easier and more convenient for everyone.

Voter turnout in Virginia in elections, especially off-year elections, is consistently low (29% in 2015).   The best way to encourage participation in our democracy is to make it easier to vote.  Already, 27 states, including DC, offer no excuse absentee voting.  Why not Virginia?



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