HJR 681/SJR 363

Joint Subcommittee to Study Virginia's Election Process and Voting Technologies

September 25, 2001, Richmond

Task Force #2 — Voter Registration and Election Day Processes

Vote fraud issues. A representative of the Voting Integrity Project emphasized the need to eliminate fraudulent voter registrations, potential nationwide measures to reduce multiple registrations, and the possibility of making voter registration lists available to watchdog groups for review. Arlington's Commonwealth's Attorney noted that the prosecution of election law violations is a lower priority item for the Commonwealth's attorneys, and State Board representatives cited issues such as non-citizen registrations, nursing home abuses, and the need for a state-level resource for prosecutions. The task force requested staff to draft amendments to strengthen Code § 24.2-104, which provides for assistance by the Attorney General in investigating and prosecuting election law violations.

DMV proposals—"on demand" voter registration form and indexing systems. DMV representatives outlined a three-part proposal:

  • A "print-on-demand" voter application process would replace the two-page carbon-interleaf combined driver/voter application form DL 1M with a one-page driver's license application that asks whether the applicant wishes to register or change his voter registration address. If the voter checks the box at the top of the form indicating that he does want to register, DMV will print out a one-page voter application that includes the common data used by DMV, SBE, and the registrars. The voter application will be given to the customer for completion and signing. DMV costs for the project include a one-time capital cost of $294,819 and a yearly recurring cost of $10,525; SBE costs will be supplied later. The task force agreed to recommend a budget amendment to fund this proposal.
  • A process to simultaneously image DMV applications with the declination response and generate an electronic index for retrieving these documents by name and social security number.
  • A process to convert the 4.5 million paper declinations currently filed at DMV into electronic files with batch order indexing by Customer Service Center (CSC) location and date of transaction. The costs to implement these last two proposals are $865,360 and $756,000, respectively. Because the costs of these two proposals are substantial and the current response time by DMV in retrieving the paper declinations for the State Board of Elections appeared to be satisfactory, the task force agreed to forward these proposals to the joint subcommittee without a recommendation at this time.

Task Force draft recommendations and legislation. Members reviewed a series of draft recommendations and legislation based on past meetings and agreed to recommend the following:

  • Draft legislation to give members of local electoral boards the ability to administer oaths and accept absentee ballots.
  • A budget amendment to enable the State Board to implement the Social Security Administration's Deceased Address Match Program.
  • Draft legislation to clean up various absentee ballot provisions and delete obsolete absentee ballot and registration provisions.
  • Draft legislation to grant additional authority to the Secretary of the State Board of Elections to designate alternative methods and procedures for the handling of absentee ballots in the event of a public emergency.

The task force agreed to give further consideration to the following:

  • The State Board of Elections' request for additional authority to postpone elections in the event of a natural disaster.
  • Draft legislation to enhance current state statutes giving the Attorney General's office a greater ability to prosecute vote fraud cases and to solicit input from the Attorney General on proposed changes.
  • State Board of Elections' proposals to clarify the application of the FOIA to electoral boards.
  • Draft legislation to implement the recommendations of the State Board of Elections regarding recount and contest laws.

Staff will circulate a draft of recommendations for Task Force review and comment and for presentation to the joint subcommittee at its October 12 meeting.

The Honorable William T. Bolling, Task Force Chairman

The Honorable James K. O'Brien, Jr., Chairman
Legislative Services contact: Mary Spain


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