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Virginia GOP reverses course, will let those with religious obligations cast absentee votes for Saturday convention

Virginia GOP reverses course, will let those with religious obligations cast absentee votes for Saturday convention
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The Republican Party of Virginia on Sunday voted to allow individuals with religious obligations to cast absentee ballots for the party's convention, reversing a previous decision that ruled out allowing absentee voting.

During a State Central Committee meeting Sunday night, members unanimously voted to allow voters with “religious obligations as set forth in the Rules” to vote “at an alternative time.”

Virginia Republicans on May 8 will vote on their nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

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The decision comes after the party previously rejected a request from four rabbis to allow voters with Saturday obligations to cast absentee ballots, according to The Washington Post.

The convention date falls on a Saturday, which is the Sabbath for Orthodox Jews, Seventh-day Adventists and other religious groups.

The change of heart from the state Republican leaders came immediately after Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Citizens' Climate Lobby - Deal or no deal? Biden, Capito continue infrastructure talks RNC warns it will advise presidential candidates against future debates if panel doesn't make changes RNC, NRSC intervene in Democratic lawsuits against Florida election law MORE urged them to switch their stance in a closed-door Sunday night meeting, an RNC spokesperson confirmed to The Hill.

McDaniel reportedly contacted state party Chairman Rich Anderson over the weekend following the state party’s initial decision. McDaniel said the issue was important to the national party.

The Post previously reported on McDaniel’s involvement in the decision.

The move from the Virginia Republican Party comes after Republicans across the country denounced absentee voting in the 2020 presidential election.

In the lead-up to and the aftermath of the November election, then President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE said there was fraud in mail-in voting, and called the voting practice dangerous.

Updated: 9:31 p.m.