RICHMOND — A General Assembly panel voted to advance a no-excuse absentee voting bill from Del. Nick Rush, R-Christiansburg.
The rest of the bills related to absentee voting — offered by Democrats — did not survive the House of Delegates Privileges and Elections subcommittee on Tuesday.
Rush’s HB 2790 would allow for no-excuse, in-person absentee voting for the week before an election. Absentee voting by mail or in person begins 45 days before an election.
People who want to cast their vote before that week during the absentee-voting period would still need to provide one of the 13 reasons to vote absentee.
Reasons include being pregnant, having a disability or being on vacation out of the area on Election Day.
“This is a big step forward,” said subcommittee chairwoman Del. Margaret Ransone, R-Westmoreland.
The subcommittee backed Rush’s bill in a 6-0 vote. The full Privileges and Elections Committee meets Friday, and Ransone said Rush’s bill had the “most potential” to make it out of there and onto the House floor.
Voting legislation supported by Gov. Ralph Northam did not make it out of the subcommittee.
HB 1641 from Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, would have allowed people to vote without providing an excuse for that entire absentee voting period. The House panel voted to reconsider it later, but it is unlikely to be taken up this session.
Del. Kaye Kory, D-Fairfax, patroned HB 2565, which would have repealed the requirement to show photo ID to vote. It provides various other documents acceptable to present in order to vote.
The subcommittee adjourned without hearing the bill, so that bill also is unlikely to advance this session.
Later on Tuesday, the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee killed the photo ID companion bill patroned by Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton.
Sen. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, carried HB 1026 that would allow for no-excuse absentee voting. Other similar bills were folded into his bill, including one that provided no-excuse absentee voting could be done in-person 21 days before an election.
The committee backed Spruill’s bill on a 14-0 vote.