People registering to vote in Virginia would no longer be required to check boxes to indicate whether they are U.S. citizens or felons whose right to vote has not been restored under changes being considered by the Virginia Board of Elections.
Voters would still have to affirm elsewhere on the application, under the threat of a felony conviction, that they are citizens and otherwise eligible. But instead of responding to separate questions about their citizenship or felony status, they would simply sign the form on a line near language that attests to their eligibility based on those and other requirements.
The distinction may seem small, but it is one that hits the political hot buttons of voter fraud, illegal immigration and the restoration of felons’ voter rights. The proposed changes have triggered yet another battle over the rules of electoral engagement in Virginia, a critical presidential swing state that is also embroiled in a redistricting battle…
Del. James M. LeMunyon (R-Fairfax) said he was aware of very few instances in which applications were denied because someone forgot to check a box. In such situations, he said, registrars typically can contact the applicant to have the form completed.
“What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?” he said. “Every first-grader in Virginia gets a work sheet from a teacher with boxes to check. If we’ve had this sort of rampant people-haven’t-been-able-to-check boxes problem, I haven’t heard of that one.”