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Agreement in LWV Virginia Lawsuit Will Eliminate Signature Witness Requirement

Pending Judge’s Decision, Voters Will Not Need a Witness for Their Absentee Ballot

LYNCHBURG—Today, the Virginia attorney general and the League of Women Voters of Virginia reached an agreement in League of Women Voters, et al. v. Virginia State Board of Elections, to remove the witness requirement for signatures on absentee ballots. 

“We are thrilled that today’s agreement means voters will not bear the burden of finding a witness for their absentee ballots during a global pandemic,” said Deb Wake, president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia. “We are optimistic the judge will rule favorably so that Virginia voters do not have to choose between their health and their vote.” 

If the district court judge accepts today’s agreement as expected, voters who cast absentee ballots will be able to submit their signed ballots without a verified witness signature. 

“We applaud today’s agreement to protect Virginia voters’ health and uphold their right to vote,” said Chris Carson, president of the board of directors of the League of Women Voters of the United States. “Virginia’s decision today should serve as a blueprint for other states grappling with how to administer elections safely and fairly during this pandemic.” 

The League is joined in this case by individual Virginia voters and represented by the ACLU of Virginia.  

“We’re pleased that the Commonwealth will not seek to invalidate absentee ballots submitted in the June 23 primaries without witness signatures due to this pandemic,” said Eden Heilman, legal director for the ACLU of Virginia. “The Commonwealth must keep the public safe and protect the right to vote. This agreement is a step in that direction.” 

The news of the agreement for lifting the signature witness requirement comes just after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam moved the state’s registration deadline from May 18 to May 26 in order to comply with the National Voter Registration Act. The League of Women Voters of Virginia and the Fair Elections Center sent a letter to the Governor asking for the change. The Virginia primary will take place on June 23. 

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Contact: Kayla Vix | 202-809-9668 | [email protected]