(WVEC) -- Now that the General Assembly is officially in session, hundreds of bills have been proposed, but there’s one issue that’s getting a lot of attention: voting.
So far, a dozen bills have been put forth by Democrats that are taking aim at processes like voter registration and absentee voting.
“This is sort of the left’s response to what they consider the right’s response to make voting harder,” said 13NewsNow Political Analyst Quentin Kidd. “The left argues that the right is trying to restrict voting, the right argues that it’s just trying to make the voting process more secure and people more confident in the voting process.”
The bills aim to expand voter access, like removing absentee voting requirements. One bill calls to allow voters to vote absentee without being required to fulfill one of the 19 requirements. Lawmakers are also trying to allow people to vote early – in Virginia, you can’t.
“They’re looking at other states and they’re saying look, states that make it easier to vote have higher turnouts, have higher rates of participation, more people vote who are eligible to vote,” said Kidd. “And that's good for democracy and so they’re trying to bring those reforms to Virginia.”
There’s also another set of bills focused on an issue that could drastically change elections in the future: redistricting.
A set of bills want to set criteria for congressional and state legislative districts that are declared unlawful or unconstitutional, one of which includes not drawing districts to favor or disfavor a political party.
“Members of the General Assembly draw their own lines and advocates for reform say that elected officials shouldn't choose their voters,” explained Kidd. “That’s what’s happening right now and they would like to change that.”