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Governor Northam introduces voter protection measures ahead of November election

Northam would like to institute prepaid postage, offer more ballot drop off boxes and drop off locations and allow voters to fix errors on their absentee ballots.

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam introduced new measures that he hopes will expand voter access and generate added voter security as Virginia inches toward the general election this fall.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a considerable number of challenges with it, especially during an election year. In order to keep people safe, many state and national leaders are urging citizens to use mail-in voting as their primary voting method this November.

So Northam proposed new measures to make the ballot box safer and more accessible for all Virginians.

The first proposal is prepaid postage. Using a proposed budget, Northam would like to tuck away $2 million for prepaid return postage on all absentee ballots.

The governor would also like to install more drop off boxes and drop off locations for Virginians who choose to vote absentee. This part of the proposal would permit localities in the Commonwealth to use these boxes so that citizens can drop off their ballots.

Additionally, Northam introduced another measure that would ensure all citizens' voting rights are protected by allowing them to fix errors on their absentee ballots. This is what Northam's proposal calls the absentee cure process. As of now, Virginians aren't allowed to fix errors, which could prompt election officials to toss their ballots. Since many people will be voting absentee this November, this measure could help ensure that every person's vote is counted.

The measures will be considered by legislators during the special General Assembly session set to begin Tuesday afternoon.

“As we continue to navigate this pandemic, we must take additional steps to make it easier to vote, not harder,” said Governor Northam. “With these measures, we will protect public health and ensure Virginians can safely exercise their right to vote in the November election. Whether you put your ballot in the mail or vote in-person, voting will be safe and secure in our Commonwealth.”

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