We have just over a week until the 2012 Election! Like many of you, I’m very encouraged by the recent trends in polling, as well as Governor Romney’s performance in the debates. However we must not take anything for granted. The only “polling” that really matters is that which occurs on November 6.
I just want to take a few minutes to provide you with some important information about the upcoming election. I hope you will find this information helpful, and I encourage you to pass it on to friends and family who may not be on this email list.
Hours and Polling Locations
In Virginia, all polls will be open from 6:00 am –7:00 pm on November 6.
If you do not know where you vote, you can find that information on your voter registration card. It is listed under“Voting Location” and will provide the name and address of your polling place. You can also find it online by clicking here.
If you will be unable to vote on Election Day, it is not too late to apply for an absentee ballot.
The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is quickly approaching, though. In order to request an absentee ballot you can download an application hereor contact your local Voter Registration Office to request an absentee ballot application. In order to have your absentee ballot mailed to you, your absentee ballot application must beRECEIEVED by your local registrar’s office by 5:00 pm eastern standard time on the Tuesday prior to the Election Day (Tuesday, October 30).
After receiving your absentee ballot in the mail, your completed absentee ballot must be received by an election official by 7:00 pm on Election Day in order to be counted.
Virginia also allows in person absentee voting for those who qualify to vote absentee. In order to vote in person, you must complete an absentee ballot application at the registrar’s office and present an acceptable form of identification. You will then be able to cast a ballot at the registrar’s office. The deadline to vote in person absentee is Saturday, November 3 at 5:00 pm.
For more information on absentee voting, including information on who is eligible to vote absentee please click here.
Acceptable Forms of Identification
During the 2012 General Assembly Session, changes were made to Virginia’s voter identification laws. Virginia law now requires all voters to provide an acceptable form of identification at the polls. Voters arriving to the polls without ID will be required to vote a provisional ballot and will have until noon the Friday after the election to deliver a copy of identification to their locality’s electoral board in order for their provisional ballot to be counted.
Acceptable forms of identification are as follows:
- Virginia voter registration card
- Valid Virginia driver's license
- Military ID
- Any Federal, Virginia state or local government-issued ID
- Employer issued photo ID card
- Concealed handgun permit
- Valid student ID issued by any institution of higher education located in the Commonwealth of Virginia
- Current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck indicating the name and address of the voter
- Social Security card (*please see below as the social security card does not satisfy special federal ID requirements)
For more information about the new voter id requirements, please click here.
What’s on the Ballot?
You are no doubt aware that this year elections are being held for President and Vice President, Senate, and Congress. I encourage you to support Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for President and Vice President, George Allen for Senate, and Robert Hurt and Bob Goodlatte for Congress.
You may not be aware, however, that there are also two proposed amendments to the Virginia constitution also on the ballot this year.
Amendment 1 is the more substantive of the two. It will read:
Shall Section 11 of Article I (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended (i) to require that eminent domain only be exercised where the property taken or damaged is for public use and, except for utilities or the elimination of a public nuisance, not where the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development; (ii) to define what is included in just compensation for such taking or damaging of property; and (iii) to prohibit the taking or damaging of more private property than is necessary for the public use?
I strongly encourage you to support this amendment.
In a 2005 case from Connecticut (Kelo vs. New London), the United State Supreme Court upheld the taking of private property and its transfer to a private business for economic development purposes, and also said that states could restrict the use of eminent domain.
Two years later, the Virginia General Assembly enacted Section 1-29.1 of the Code of Virginia, and set limits on the use of eminent domain powers. The proposed constitutional amendment takes it a step farther. Amendments to the code by the General Assembly can be changed by any future General Assembly. However if the proposed amendment passes, it can only be changed by a future constitutional amendment approved by voters.
The proposed amendment includes the following:
- The right to private property is a “fundamental” right.
- The taking or damaging of private property must be for a “public use”.
- No more property may be taken or damaged than is necessary for the stated public use
- A “public service company, public service corporation, or railroad exercises the power of eminent domain for public use when such exercise is for the authorized provision of utility, common carrier, or railroad services.” Elimination of a public nuisance may be a public use. It is not considered public use if the “primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development.”
- Just compensation for property taken is expanded and defined to be“no less than the value of the property taken, lost profits, and lost access, and damages to the residue caused by the taking.”
- The burden of proof lies on the entity condemning the property, who must prove that the property is being taken for public use.
I believe that property rights are foundational rights, and I believe this amendment takes a huge step in protecting those rights in Virginia. I hope that you will join me in voting“Yes” on Amendment 1.
Amendment 2 is more technical in nature. It will read:
Shall Section 6 of Article IV (Legislature) of the Constitution of Virginia concerning legislative sessions be amended to allow the General Assembly to delay by no more than one week the fixed starting date for the reconvened or "veto" session when the General Assembly meets after a session to consider the bills returned to it by the Governor with vetoes or amendments?
At the end of every legislative session, the General Assembly is required by the Constitution to meet again or reconvene in a “veto” session. The only bills that the General Assembly can consider in a veto session are bills that passed during the legislative session and that the Governor has sent back to it with his vetoes or suggested amendments.
The constitution now requires that the veto session must begin on the sixth Wednesday following the end of each session. The veto session usually lasts for only one day, and cannot last more than ten days.
The proposed amendment gives the General Assembly the flexibility to delay the start of the veto session for up to one week. This will enable the General Assembly to avoid possible scheduling of the veto session on a religious holiday such as Passover. The proposed amendment does not change the present limits on the business that can be considered or the length of the veto session.
I would encourage you to join me in voting“yes” on this amendment.
Local Registrars’ Offices
If you have additional questions about the upcoming election I would encourage you to contact your local registrar.
Augusta County – (540) 245-5656
Highland County – (540) 468-2013
Nelson County – (434) 263-4068
City of Staunton – (540) 332-3840
City of Waynesboro – (540) 942-6620
I would like to thank all of you who have taken time to volunteer for our candidates. I know that many of you have made phone calls, knocked on doors, and manned the headquarters.
We are in the home stretch now, but we cannot stop yet. We must keep working to help carry our team across the finish line. If you’re willing to knock on doors or make phone calls, contact Joe Russo at the Harrisonburg Victory office and he will let you know how you can get involved. You can reach Joe by email at JRusso@rpv.org, or by phone at (540) 221-1503.
Additionally, I know that our local committees are looking for folks to volunteer to hand out sample ballots at the polls on Election Day. If you’re willing to sign up for a shift, contact your local committee chair, who will point you in the right direction.
Thanks again, and as always, thanks for allowing me to serve as your delegate.