(With just 10 days left until the general election, now is the time to give everything you’ve got, to leave it all on the field. To help keep you motivated and focused, we’re running a quick series we’re calling “What’s At Stake Nov. 5th” highlighting a handful of reasons this election is so critically important to Virginians.)
It’s a funny tv/movie trope that when you find a genie who will give you three wishes, one of them should be to wish for more wishes. The political equivalent, when you live in the state ranked second to last in ease of voting, is to wish for better voting rights. Because every other issue can be better resolved by voters making their voices heard–when we vote, we win.
And that’s what’s at stake November 5th. Why is it so hard to vote in Virginia? Because we have restrictive voting laws! Things like the number of days prior to an election that voters can register, restrictions on voter registration, voter ID laws, restricting absentee voting, and limiting the number of polling stations make it hard—and expensive for low-income folks—to vote in Virginia. The only place harder to vote is Mississippi!
Here in Virginia, Democratic legislators repeatedly propose bills to make it easier to vote:
- Automatic voter registration? Killed on partisan vote
- Felon voting rights automatic restoration? Killed on partisan vote
- No excuse absentee voting? Ehhhh, some incredibly watered-down and delayed enactment version of this passed, but really, just no.
- Repeal voter ID law? Killed on partisan vote
- Same day voter registration? Killed on partisan vote
You get the picture I’m sure. Democrats fight to make it easier to vote, Republicans fight to make it harder. And it works: there’s a strong correlation between how hard it is to vote and how turnout is. So what’s at stake this election is not just what legislation the upcoming General Assembly will pass, it’s how fair the 2020 national elections will be, how easy it will be to vote for our next Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General in 2021, etc. Voting November 5th is like wishing for more wishes!