Multiple bills increasing voting accessibility signed into law Friday

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam signed several “key bills” into law on Friday, including three that will increase voting accessibility for Virginians.

One bill will allow localities to offer early voting on Sunday. House Bill 1968, sponsored by Del. Lamont Bagby leaves the decision to provide early voting up to the electoral board or general register of each locality. Early voting could be offered at the registrar’s office as well as voter satellite offices.

A senate bill sponsored by Sen. Barbara Favola, will allow absentee voters to forego having a witness signature during a declared public health emergency. Senate Bill 1097 lets voters fill out their absentee ballot and submit it without having another person present. Under the new law, the Department of Elections will also begin evaluating alternatives to using a witness signature.

The third voting-related bill passed Friday was Senate Bill 1239, sponsored by Sen. John Bell. This bill permits general registrars to work with third-party vendors to get ballots printed and distributed on time.

In a release addressing all of the recently signed bills Northam said, “I am proud to sign these bills into law, and I look forward to continuing our work together to support families and small businesses and build a more welcoming, inclusive Commonwealth.”

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