Elections

Governor Northam Signs Sweeping New Laws to Expand Access to Voting

Legislation expands early voting, makes Election Day a state holiday

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam has signed landmark new laws to repeal Virginia’s voter ID law, make Election Day a state holiday in Virginia, and expand access to early voting.

“Voting is a fundamental right, and these new laws strengthen our democracy by making it easier to cast a ballot, not harder,” said Governor Northam. “No matter who you are or where you live in Virginia, your voice deserves to be heard. I’m proud to sign these bills into law.”

Governor Northam signed these bills:

  • House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 111, sponsored by House Majority Leader Charniele Herring and Senator Janet Howell, respectively, allow early voting 45 days prior to an election without a stated excuse. Virginia currently requires voters who wish to vote absentee to provide the state with a reason, from an approved list, why they are unable to vote on Election Day.

  • House Bill 19 and Senate Bill 65, sponsored by Delegate Joe Lindsey and Senator Mamie Locke, respectively, remove the requirement that voters show a photo ID prior to casting a ballot. Voter ID laws disenfranchise individuals who may not have access to photo identification, and disproportionately impact low-income individuals, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities.  

  • House Bill 108 and Senate Bill 601, sponsored by Delegate Joe Lindsey and Senator Louise Lucas, respectively, make Election Day a state holiday, which will help ensure every Virginian has the time and opportunity to cast their ballot. In order to maintain the same number of state holidays, this measure repeals the current Lee-Jackson Day holiday, established over 100 years ago to honor Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

  • House Bill 235 and Senate Bill 219, sponsored by Delegate Joshua Cole and Senator David Marsden, respectively, implement automatic voter registration for individuals accessing service at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office or the DMV website.

  • House Bill 1678, sponsored by Delegate Joe Lindsey, extends in-person polling hours from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

“We need more access to the ballot box, not less,” said Senator Louise Lucas. “I am so proud to be a part of new laws that expand access to voting and make our Commonwealth more representative of the people we serve. Today is an historic day.”

“Our democracy relies on equal access to the ballot box,” said House Majority Leader Charniele Herring. “I’m grateful to the Governor for his partnership in breaking down barriers to voting, and ensuring all Virginians have the opportunity to exercise this fundamental right.”

“Virginia’s photo ID law was designed to make it more difficult to vote,” said Delegate Joe Lindsey. “It is past time we repealed this law, and I’m grateful to the Governor for helping us get it done.”

In Support of Delegate Tyler

Dear Editor,

I am writing this article because it is very important for everyone to know Delegate Roslyn Tyler and the many accomplishments she has forth for and achieved over the last 14 years while representing the 75th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. As a Christian, medical professional and a small business owner, she has had a positive impact on the 75th District constituents and businesses. A respected and experienced public servant, Delegate Tyler has earned a reputation in Richmond for building consensus, making informed decisions and finding common sense solutions. More importantly, she makes sure ALL our voices are heard, democrats, republicans and independents.

Delegate Tyler was appointed by the House Speaker to serve on the Education, Militia Police & Public Safety and the Commerce and Labor Committee’s; in 2018 she was appointed to the House of Appropriations – Budget Committee. She has been a strong advocate for Education, healthcare, Virginia farmers, the logging and forestry industry and the public safety officers and hunting rights. Delegate Tyler serves on the Virginia Rural Center Board of Directors, the Joint Commission on Health, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission and a member of the Legislator Sportsmen and Rural Caucus.

Delegate Tyler stood up and carried legislation for the Virginia Education Association (HB 2332) that increased teacher’s salaries at or above the national average resulting in teacher’s receiving their highest pay raise in 15 years. As a member of the House of Appropriations, she was instrumental in increasing the salary for Correctional Officers and Deputy Sheriffs attracting over $11 million to improve infrastructure and create jobs. Delegate Tyler voted for Medicaid expansion providing 400,000 Virginians access to healthcare and affordable prescription drugs. Delegate Tyler successfully led the bi-partisan fight to protect hunting with dogs and sportsmen’s rights which was about to be eliminated in Virginia defeating the proposed law (HB 1900) 48-47 votes. Had she not fought for hunters, hunt clubs would have been forced to close their doors throughout Virginia.

As many of you have read flyers and seen false advertisements (from her opponent) on radio and television about Delegate Tyler visiting France. While serving on the Commerce and Labor Committee, Delegate Tyler was chosen in 2011 to be part of a bi-partisan delegation of Senators, Delegates and business owners to visit France to explore a multi-billion operation requesting to come to Virginia.  This trip was not funded by taxpayer dollars but business owners. Because of Virginia’s bi-partisan delegation approach to attract businesses, Virginia has been rated as the best state in the Nation to do business.

Delegate Tyler continues to work towards creating higher paying jobs and expansion of high-speed internet for homes and businesses in Southside Virginia, as an attempt to keep young graduates in our communities.

On Tuesday, November 5th I urge everyone to vote to re-elect Delegate Roslyn Tyler to the House of Delegates.

Thank you, Mary Beth Washington

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

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Virginia Republicans Announce Election Review Panel

Letter - Endorsing D. Keith Prince, Jr. for City Sheriff

Dear Editor-

As you know, Election Season is once again upon us.

The Democrats have a great ticket this year. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam for Governor, Justin Fairfax for Lt. Gov. and Mark Herring for Attorney General will all work to move Virginia forward. Delegate Roslyn Tyler, running unopposed, will once again represent the 75th District in the House of Delegates.

In addition to the Statewide Candidates and Delegate Tyler, the Emporia-Greensville Democrats have endorsed D. Keith Prince, Jr. in the race for City Sheriff, the only contested race for a Constitutional Office.

Keith has made saving taxpayers money a priority, and plans to pursue any and all grant opportunities to help fund the office of Emporia Sheriff, and is hopeful that the entire budget for the Sheriff’s Office can be funded with grants.

Keith has served both in the City Sheriff’s office and as an office of the Emporia Police Department and is an Emporia Native. In addition to his years of service, Keith has a good relationship with a very diverse group of citizens.

During his 20 years of law enforcement in this community, Keith has served on the Meherrin Drug Task Force – a multi-jurisdictional operation that covered the City of Emporia and the counties of Greensville, Southampton and Isle of Wight.

For six years, Keith served as Detective on the Drug Interdiction detail and was given the Public Service Award by Neil McBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Keith received this award for his service on an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force on a case that spanned from Cape Cod to Miami.

Keith’s service on this task force started with a traffic stop that resulted in the seizure of 9,000 Oxycodone pills. All-in-all, thirteen people were arrested and one million dollars worth of drugs, currency and vehicles were seized and multiple unsolved cases in South Florida are now closed.  Monies seized in the line of Keith’s duties have funded the purchase of nine fully equipped police vehicles and additional equipment for the Emporia Police Department.

Keith believes strongly in community involvement is the key to leadership, and his involvement in the community spans decades and includes service as a Board Member and Operations Officer for the Greensville County Rescue Squad and was voted the Squadsman of the Year for 1996. Keith currently serves on the Fundraising Committee for the Citizens United to Preserve the Greensville County Training School and is on the committee working to bring a Boy’s and Girl’s Club back to serve the youth of the City of Emporia and Greensville County.

Our committee invited both candidates in the race for City Sheriff to meet with us.  Both candidates were given the opportunity to speak and were asked questions from the members present.  The unanimous decision of the group was to endorse D. Keith Prince, Jr.

We feel that Keith will be a force for good in our community and live up to his campaign slogan – “committed to the community, dedicated to progress.”

Both the City and County have new voting machines this year. Both use paper ballots that are marked and fed into an optical scanner. These machines are extremely easy to use.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Polls are open from 6 am to 7 pm.  Don’t miss this opportunity to exercise your guaranteed American Right - VOTE.

See you at the polls.

George Morrison, Chairman

Emporia-Greensville Democratic Committee

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Election Day Is November 7th, 2017

In case you have not seen all of the political advertisements on television over the last few weeks, there is an Election on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017.

This will be the first election using the new voting machines in both the City and County. The former direct entry voting machines were recently decertified by the State Board of Elections, forcing both localities to invest in more up-to-date technology.

While the voting machines are made by different companies, they work the same way.

Step one is to obtain your ballot. This works just the way it always has – give the Election Official your name and ID and they will give you a paper ballot, just as they did before the advent of electronic voting machines.

After you receive your ballot, you will mark it by filling in the oval beside the candidate you wish to vote for. You may or may not be given a pen to mark the ballot, but any black ball-point pen will work. According to one member of the Greensville County Electoral Board you will be given a Bic pen to mark your ballot.

Once your ballot is marked you will take it to the machine and feed it into the scanner, just like you used to do with the ballot box. Do not fold your ballot, but do follow the instructions from the Election Official when you feed your ballot into the machine.

That is it. You’re done, you can get your sticker to let people know that you voted and enjoy the rest of your day.

To prove how easy the process is, there is a video in this article. If you are really uncomfortable with the new process, you may take a family member of friend to help you vote

In addition to the video, there are also images of the Sample Ballots for both the City and the County. You may click on either one to get a PDF that you can print.

If you have any questions, need an absentee ballot, or wish to vote absentee in person, please call your General Registrar. In the City of Emporia, call Ashley Wall at (434)634-9533 or stop by the Municipal Building at 201 South Main Street (across the hall from the City Council Chamber). In the County, call Susan Conwell at (434)348-4228 or visit the Greensville County Government Center at 1781 Greensville County Circle (next to the Board of Supervisors meeting room on the south end of the building).

 

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Endorsed by Sanders, Perriello campaigns in Richmond

By Tyler Hammel, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – In his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor, Tom Perriello says he would make community college free, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and confront the Trump administration over its policies on immigration and other issues.

Perriello – who has won an endorsement from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – discussed those topics Monday night at a town-hall style meeting at Virginia Union University in Richmond.

Promising to combat President Donald Trump’s administration and help create a “community of conscience,” the Charlottesville native received consistent applause from the crowd.

He touted his support of the Affordable Care Act when he served in the U.S. Congress in 2009-11. Trump, who succeeded Barrack Obama as president in January, has vowed to repeal and replace the ACA. Perriello gave credit to demonstrations such as the Women’s March on Washington for preventing that from happening.

“Five months ago, people could have curled up on the couch and cried, and I’m sure all of us did. But instead, people decided to say, ‘No, this isn’t who we are as a commonwealth; this is not something we are going to stand by passively and watch,’” Perriello said. “Because of these efforts, because of the marches, because of the protests, because of the stories, today the Affordable Care Act remains in place.”

Perriello also discussed his hope to provide free community college to Virginia residents, calling it a good investment. He said trickle-down economics – the notion that tax cuts for the wealthy will generate benefits for poorer people – doesn’t work.

“What the evidence does show you is when you actually increase wages and invest in people, then you do get growth locally, and more growth for small business,” Perriello said. “This is not something we’re doing out of the goodness of our hearts. We’re doing this because it’s a good investment strategy.”

A big part of Perriello’s speech was establishing himself as a viable candidate in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Perriello announced his candidacy in January, when it appeared that Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam would be uncontested in seeking the nomination.

Perriello encouraged supporters to knock on doors and volunteer on his behalf to spread the word about his campaign. That was a critical strategy at the time: Only one in five Virginians even knew his name, according to a poll published in February by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

Last week, a survey by the center showed that Perriello and Northam were tied: Each had support from 26 percent of Democratic-leaning voters; almost half of the people polled were undecided.

At the event at Virginia Union University, Perriello had few critical things to say about Northam. Instead, he mentioned issues on which the two candidates agreed – but Perriellosaid he was the first to take those positions.

“We came out and led the way on standing up for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. A few weeks later, we saw Ralph and others court that decision,” Perriello said. “Same thing with criminal justice reform and debt-free community college. I think what we need right now is someone who’s actually leading a policy agenda.”

Perriello echoes many of the positions that Sanders espoused during his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last year. On Tuesday, Sanders issued a statement endorsing Perriello.

“We need to elect progressives at every level of government if we are going to beat back the dangerous agenda of the Trump Administration and its Republican allies,” the statement said. “Tom is committed to fighting the rigged economy and income inequality. He was the first major statewide candidate in Virginia to run on a $15 minimum wage and the first to say two years of community college should be tuition-free.”

Perriello will face off against Northam in the Democratic primary election on June 13. Northam has the support of outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe and most Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly and the state’s congressional delegation.

On the Republican side, three candidates are vying for the GOP nomination for governor: Ed Gillespie, former chairman of the Republican National Committee; state Sen. Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach; and Corey Stewart, who chairs the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

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Mary Person Wins Second Term

Incumbent Mayor Mary L. Person has been re-elected for a second term. Only 48 votes separated her from her opponent, Marva Dunn.

In the only competitive City Council Race, Incumbent L. Dale Temple overcame the challenge from Marvin A "Cow" Harvell in a major landslide.

Two other City Council races were uncontested, Carol Mercer will serve 4 more years and James Saunders returns to City Council, replacing James Ewing, who decided not to seek re-election.

Both City and County voters (and the rest of the state) by voting heavily in favor of Hillary Clinton.

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision to undo the Gerrymandering of the General assembly in House District 3, J, Randy Forbes decided not to run. A. Donald McEachin and Michael Wade both survived the primary process. State Senator McEachin, by a wide margin, bested Michael Wade to serve the Fourth Congressional District in the US House of Representatives.

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Full Ballot for County in November

While the majority of candidates will be running unopposed, there are a few competitive races on the ballot in the November General Election. 

Unopposed races included State Senator L. Louise Lucas and House of Delegates Member Roslyn Tyler, both Democrats.  Running unopposed for Constitutional Offices in Greensville County, Patricia Watson (Commonwealth's Attorney), Martha Swenson (Commissioner of the Revenue), and Pamela Lifsey (Treasurer).  This year's race will see competition for the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court as incumbent Bobby Wrenn will face opposition from Debra Brown.

The County Sheriff's race includes four candidates (five are listed in the chart from the State Board of Elections, as one is listed twice).  Timmy Jarratt will run as the incumbent in the wake of Sheriff Edward's recent retirement.  Also in the race for County Sheriff are Derrick Banks, Stephen King and former Sheriff Wyatt Lee.

Longtime Board of Supervisors Member James C. Vaughn is not standing for re-election this year, running for his District One seat are James Avent and Raymond Bryant.  Supervisor Margaret Lee from District Three will face competition from Keith Mitchell.  Fourth District Supervisor and Chairman Peggy Wiley is running unopposed as is the Supervisor Mike Ferguson from District Two.

Both James S. Ferguson and Anthony Gillus are running to be Directors of the Chowan Basin Soil and Water Conservation District.  Both are currently Directors for that board covering Greensville, Sussex and Southampton Counties.

All four people running for Greensville County School Board are running unopposed.  They are Bessie Ried, Danny Rook, Rhonda Jones Gilliam, and Christopher Vaughan.  School Board Members for the City of Emporia are still appointed by the City Council.

On the ballot for the City of Emporia are State Senator and Delegate and the shared Constitutional Offices of the Commonwealth's Attorney, County Sheriff and Clerk of the Circuit Court.

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