Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Elections
State Board of Elections
Absentee Voting [1 VAC 20 ‑ 70]
Action Material omissions from absentee ballots.
Stage Final
Comment Period Ends 10/12/2011
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10/7/11  9:26 pm
Commenter: Shelton Dominici, Registered Voter

Material ommissions on absentee ballots

The goal is to positively identify the voter.  Uniformity and equality are essential in voting. These criteria are missing in this discussion of what is material or not material in counting absentee ballots.

When voters apply for an absentee ballot, it is confirmed that the requestor is a registered voter eligible to receive an absentee ballot. Labels with needed information are affixed to the mailing envelope and return envelope. When the voted ballot is returned, this information is checked and voting credit is given. This is true for a stateside voter and a UOCAVA or overseas voter. How then is the "B" envelope with the signature of the voter and witness of a UOCAVA voter accepted and the "B" envelop of a non-UOCAVA voter with the same information not accepted? These voters are held to a different standard.  Why is information that the registrar's office put on the envelope not enough information to count the ballot of the non-UOCAVA voter? This is not uniform, fair or equal. The only material inofrmation of the "B" envelope is the voter's name, signature and the witness's signature. The address, etc., is not material since it is on the envelope already.

I do hope we will finally make the process of voting absentee uniform and equal for all.

In item C #6, I think a voter providing a derivitive of their name should NOT be considered a MATERIAL omisson.  If the voter writes "Bob" instead of "Robert" and all other information matches the AB application and and registration record, I believe this voter matches up with that record.

In item C #6, I think omitting the year in the date should NOT be considered MATERIAL omisson.

If the envelope contains this year's ballot and the outer envelope is postmarked this year, I do not believe that omission of the year on the date of the voter's signature is material.

By reducing the ambiguities, the spirit of the law (eligible/entitled voters can vote) and the letter of the law (fulfilling ballot submission requirements/instructions to vote) should converge. Also note that even with (only) these changes, there are more possibilities for further reducing ambiguities, such as for compound first names (e.g., Maria Isabel) or for numerical dates (e.g., 10/11 – was the year omitted or was this October 2011 and the day was omitted?).