Judge denies complaint against Virginia absentee voting laws
A federal judge in Virginia denied a request from voters seeking to challenge the state’s newly-passed absentee voting legislation.
Judge Rossie Alston of the Eastern District of Virginia, a Trump appointee, issued the ruling Friday, saying that although the voters’ complaint “may be well-founded, the court is constrained at this time from remedying these constitutional grievances.”
Under current law, Virginians must list a state-authorized reason for why they cannot vote in person. But a law passed this year that will take effect in July allows voters to cast absentee ballots without any formal excuse.
The plaintiffs argue that in-person voting is just as safe as other essential activities and not requiring voters to file a formal excuse invites fraud.
“The same social distancing and good hygiene practices — which are effective for preventing the spread of the virus when going out for essential services, like grocery shopping and other essential services — are also an effective way to prevent the spread of the virus for in-person voting,” the lawsuit said.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) said in a statement Friday that the ruling “will save lives and is a huge win for Virginia and for democracy.”
We won a HUGE case to protect voting rights during the COVID crisis, defeating efforts by conservative activists to restrict voting by mail. No one should have to choose between their health and their right to vote. pic.twitter.com/yn4DHvP2l8
— Mark Herring (@MarkHerringVA) May 29, 2020