For Immediate Release: April 9, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, Ofirah.Yheskel@governor.virginia.gov

Governor Northam Vetoes Legislation Burdening Local Election Officials with Redundant Requirements

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today vetoed legislation that would require local election officials to investigate lists of registered voters, despite the fact that Virginia already has significant measures in place to preserve the integrity of the Commonwealth’s voter rolls. The Governor’s full veto statement is below:

April 9, 2018

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto Senate Bill 521. Senate Bill 521 requires local electoral boards to direct their general registrars to investigate lists of registered voters anytime the number exceeds the number of persons age 18 or older in that city or county. The bill would also require general registrars to investigate the lists of persons voting in an election when that number exceeds the number of registered voters in that city or county.

This legislation is unnecessary and places onerous responsibilities on local election officials. Virginia already has robust list maintenance procedures in place. The list maintenance system is a complex process of cross-referencing voter registration across the United States to ensure that voters are not registered in more than one location. The Department of Elections already uses information from the United States Postal Service, the Social Security Administration, the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, and several other databases to ensure the maintenance of its voter lists. 

In addition, I have concerns about the implementation of this bill. This legislation would give general registrars investigative authority they currently do not have, but provides no government oversight for how they exercise that authority. This could lead to privacy issues and potential legal challenges for electoral boards, general registrars and localities.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Sincerely,

 

Ralph S. Northam

 

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