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Commonwealth's Counties

Elections Bills Roundup

The House Privileges and Elections Committee began to hear legislation for the 2022 session on January 21, and reported several bills of interest to local government.

  • HB 76 (Ware) requires the General Assembly to reimburse local governments for the cost of absentee voting in accordance with a plan to be established in the Appropriation Act. VACo supports this measure and spoke in favor of the bill, which was reported and referred to the House Appropriations Committee.
  • HB 195 (Ransone) allows the Department of Elections to grant a waiver to a locality from the current requirement for a polling place to be located within a precinct or within one mile of the precinct boundary in the event that there is no suitable building that could be used for a polling place within the precinct or within the one-mile boundary. The Department may impose conditions on the waiver in order to ensure accessibility and security of the polling place.

Two bills dealing with ranked-choice voting narrowly failed to report from committee.  HB 129 (Davis) would have allowed parties to hold primaries via ranked-choice voting, at the option of the party; the bill failed to report by a vote of 11-10.  HB 603 (Hudson) would have extended the current authorization for ranked-choice voting in local city council or board of supervisors elections to any local or constitutional office; this bill was tabled by a vote of 12-9.

Bills reported by the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee at its first meeting on January 18 included the following:

  • SB 39 (Spruill) requires candidates for Constitutional offices to be identified by party on the ballot if they are nominated by a political party or via primary (currently only candidates for federal and statewide offices and General Assembly seats are so identified). This bill has passed the Senate.
  • SB 222 (McPike) requires all candidates to file campaign finance reports electronically with the State Board of Elections.

VACo Contact:  Katie Boyle

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