RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A bill to remove dead people from voter rolls every week instead of once a month passed the Virginia Senate on a bipartisan vote Monday.
The legislation from state Sen. Jennifer Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) would require the state registrar of vital records to share an updated list of people who died in Virginia with the Department of Elections each week. Under the current system, these lists are provided to the department each month.
If passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, general registrars would need to “promptly cancel” the voter registration for anyone on the list for updated voter rolls.
The measure was approved in the state Senate on a 32-8 vote, with 13 Democrats joining all of the Republicans in the chamber to vote in favor of the bill. The effort must still go through the House of Delegates, where it’s expected to pass as Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the chamber.
Kiggans’ bill is one of the changes to Virginia’s voting laws that have picked up support from both sides of the aisle. Other Republican measures to tighten voting rules in Virginia, a priority for the party and Youngkin, have been killed or rejected in the Democratic-controlled state Senate.
Teresa Smithson, Hanover County’s general registrar, said cleaning voter rolls is “the number one job” for election administrators in Virginia and the proposal could help them catch certain issues quicker than the current procedure.
For example, Smithson said a mother once called her office after her daughter was incorrectly listed as deceased by the state and removed from the county’s voter registration list. She said a change to weekly reporting would have alerted her office of the mistake before the notice was sent to the family.