Lawsuit To Thwart Republican Backed Voter Suppression Announced In Virginia

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A lawsuit has been filed to stop certain instances of voter suppression in Virginia — where Republicans recently scored a raft of victories, although the state’s new GOP governor and state legislators haven’t been sworn in yet. The provisions under dispute include a requirement for Virginia residents to provide their full Social Security numbers when registering to vote and what the voting rights organization Democracy Docket described as an “arbitrary” cut-off for absentee voters to fix easily addressable problems with their ballots.

Plaintiffs in the case include the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the latter of which is an official arm of the national Democratic Party that handles U.S. House races. In the case, these plaintiffs claim that the requirement to provide full Social Security numbers when registering to vote “violates the First and 14th Amendments as well as the Civil Rights Act and Privacy Act,” Democracy Docket explains.

As for the other challenged legal provision, Virginia (per Democracy Docket) “only guarantees a notice and opportunity to cure easily-fixable defects to voters whose ballots are received by the Friday before Election Day,” and those behind the case “argue that this arbitrary notice cut-off denies procedural due process by failing to provide the same safeguards to all Virginians voting absentee in violation of the 14th Amendment, unduly burdens the right to vote in violation of the First and 14th Amendments and can lead to the disenfranchisement of voters who are not given notice of a curable defect with their ballot.” Plaintiffs would be hoping for all absentee voters to get the same opportunity to handle certain issues with their ballots. The lawsuit targets state officials including Democrats and at least one Republican. Read more here.

The Virginia case constitutes another front for concern in what has quickly become a nationwide effort to secure voting rights. After last year’s elections, no systematic evidence of election fraud was uncovered, but Democrats did score some wins — and that’s provided the backdrop for Republican-dominated efforts to restrict the electoral process. In Texas, for example, GOP state officials have banned 24-hour voting, drive-thru voting, and sending mail-in ballot applications to voters even if they didn’t request them — all of which could be found in Harris County, which includes Houston and many Democratic voters, last year.