Northam proposes three major changes to protect absentee voters in Virginia


Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gestures as he delivers his budget update before a joint meeting of the House and Senate money committees at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – As the November 3 election draws closer, Governor Ralph Northam is proposing three changes to protect voters in the Commonwealth.

The United States Post Office is expecting an unusually high number of absentee ballots due to COVID-19 as voters will try to avoid polling places, and the Governor says these measures will protect voters and their health. Postmaster Louis DeJoy says USPS will ‘suspend’ some operational changes until after election

“As we continue to navigate this pandemic, we must take additional steps to make it easier to vote, not harder,” Northam said.  “With these measures, we will protect public health and ensure Virginians can safely exercise their right to vote in the November election. Whether you put your ballot in the mail or vote in-person, voting will be safe and secure in our Commonwealth.”

  • Prepaid postage: $2 million is set aside for return postage on all absentee ballots for the November election.
  • Drop off boxes and drop off locations: These would be available for Virginians choosing to vote absentee with security standards set by the Virginia Department of Elections.
  • Absentee cure process: Voting Virginians will be able to fix an error on their absentee ballot. Currently, errors cannot be fixed and ballots may be thrown out.

These proposals come the same day as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy says major changes to the Postal Service won’t happen until after November 3.

The governor’s proposed budget is currently being discussed in this year’s special session. Northam lays out spending priorities to House and Senate Finance Committees to kick off special session

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