Elections Bills Roundup

January 25, 2022

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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