Falsely signing a voter registration form would remain a felony. But failing to answer the citizenship, felon and mental health questions would no longer be considered a “material omission” that under Virginia law automatically requires a registrar to reject an application.
“The real threat to the integrity of our elections is politicians who throw up more barriers to voting,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA, a progressive advocacy organization based in Albemarle County. “It’s disgusting any politician would throw around wild and unfounded accusations to hide their true motivation: opposition to any proposal to make it easier for every eligible Virginia voter to cast a ballot.”
Republican politicians aren’t the only people who oppose changing the voter registration form, though.
A steady stream of registrars from across Virginia spoke during last week’s public hearing. Not one endorsed the proposed changes. Several pointed out that the changes would place the form in direct conflict with state law and make it far more difficult for them to determine whether an applicant is actually eligible to vote.
Chesterfield Registrar Larry Haake drew loud applause from the crowd of about 250 people when he noted that allowing prospective voters to avoid filling out the form completely would “prevent me from doing my duty.”
“When you look at the law regarding whether they are a citizen, as registrar of voters, we need an affirmative statement from the voter,” he said.