SB1351 was approved by the Senate (with several Democratic votes) and is now in the House. This bill must be stopped.
In the first place, this bill was written by Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel (R, Winchester), a former general counsel to the Republican National Committee. As RNC GC, she was instrumental in orchestrating GOP voter suppression efforts nationwide. And now she brings her talents to Virginia.
Senate Bill 1351 removes the prohibition against the use of handled wireless communication devices containing a camera or other imaging device by authorized representatives of political parties inside a polling place or central absentee voter precinct.
We should be concerned about this legislation because of the intimidation factor it presents to voters and Officers of Election within the polling place. Voters are concerned about their privacy and providing personal information in the presence of strangers who are not official Officers of Election. Additionally, voters are concerned that their information may be videotaped or recorded while checking-in, and their personal information may be photographed while it is displayed on our Electronic Pollbook Screens. This bill will definitely lead to voter complaints, accusations of impropriety and possibly result in Federal lawsuits alleging voter suppression.
The bill has been amended to prohibit the use of wireless communication devices to capture a digital image inside the polling place. However, there is no way to enforce this. These devices can capture photos or video without anyone noticing. Voters and Officers of Election may be, unknowingly, filmed, photographed or recorded. Furthermore, we see this interfering with the check-in and voting process.
This is where we are headed if this bill passes: