House and Senate announce joint subcommittee to study key election issues

parker2018 General Assembly

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today announced the formation of a Joint Subcommittee on Election Review. The Subcommittee will consider issues related to the conduct of elections that were brought to light following the November 2017 elections, including absentee balloting, the assignment of voters in split precincts, and recount law and procedures.

“One of the most sacred rights offered to the people of Virginia is the right to vote in a fair and free election,” said Speaker Cox. “There were numerous questions raised during the 2017 elections about the delivery and acceptance of absentee ballots, the assignment of voters in split precincts, and Virginia’s recount law and procedures. This subcommittee will have the ability to broadly review these questions and determine what, if any, steps should be taken.”

Speaker Cox and Majority Leader Norment announced that Delegate Mark Cole (R-Spotsylvania), Chairman of the House Privileges and Elections Committee, and Senator Jill H. Vogel (R-Fauquier), Chairman of the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, will serve as co-chairs of the Joint Subcommittee.  Other members will be announced later in the session.

“These issues are not about who wins or loses elections, but about the confidence of the public in our elections,” Senator Norment noted.  “We never go through an election without a contentious result in a closely fought contest.  Citizens expect us to protect and ensure the integrity of the process.”  

“This subcommittee has important work before it,” said Subcommittee Co-Chair Mark Cole. “We will focus on reviewing the issues and procedures with absentee ballots, voter assignment, split-precincts, proper procedures for recounts and the protocol for elections that end in a tie. This subcommittee’s main focus will be to ensure all Virginians trust the election process and know that all votes are being counted in the most transparent way possible.”

“We need to examine these issues comprehensively, using a process that takes all viewpoints into account,” said Subcommittee Co-Chair Vogel.  “Virginia’s Registrars have asked that we take a deliberate approach to examining these issues.  We will be using the months to come to hear directly from those proposing reforms, from those responsible for the conduct of our elections, and from the voting public.”