|Action||Material omissions from absentee ballots.|
|Comment Period||Ends 10/12/2011|
In Support of the Regulation
I am the co-chair of the Elections Committee for the Fairfax County Republican Committee. As such, I have been an authorized observer for the Republican Party at the Fairfax County Central Absentee Precinct for every election since 2008. I have noted many instances during the processing of the AB votes where the Election Officials were faced with having to determine the validity of a vote because of missing, incomplete or confusing information on the B envelope containing the ballot. In lieu of having specific instructions, arbitrary decisions had to be made. These decisions were often based upon "We think this was the intent of the voter" rather than "This is the law as interpreted by the SBE". This proposed regulation removes the uncertainty for the Election Officials by clearly defining the material and non-material omissions allowed on the B envelope while remaining faithful to the underlying Code of Virginia.
Subdivision 2 of Section 24.2-706 of the Code of Virginia provides a Statement of the Voter which is printed, verbatim, on the flap side of the B Envelope. Sufficient information must be provided by the voter in this signed and witnessed Statement to enable the Election Officials at the CAP to ascertain that the person submitting the ballot is the same person that requested the AB vote. Specifically, this can only be done if the voter is required to provide his name, address, signature and a witness signature. However, to ensure that all valid absentee ballots are cast, I believe this regulation effectively defines the non-material omissions that are acceptable while still providing the necessary identification information for the Election Officials.