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October 29, 2020

The ACLU of Virginia sent letters to 133 local registrars across the Commonwealth, the Virginia State Board of Elections, and the Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam urging Virginia leaders and election officials to assure safe and uniform voting practices throughout Virginia, so that every eligible ballot is counted.

The ACLU-VA asked election officials to take the following minimum steps to make sure that everyone has equal access to the ballot box and every vote is counted:

  • Timely verify that absentee ballots have been completed correctly, including promptly notifying voters of any ballot error to ensure that each vote is counted.
  • Ensure that all election officials are trained to identify conduct that constitutes illegal voter intimidation prohibited by state law and to report it to the Registrar who should have a plan to address it immediately when it occurs.  
  • Ensure eligible voters have access to relevant information to assist them in the voting process, especially for people living in rural or low-income areas that may not have internet access.
  • Take additional measures to ensure access for blind, visually impaired, or other voters living with a physical disability.
  • Accommodate non-English speaking voters via notification and voting procedures.
  • Ensure that all polling places are informed about and maintain full compliance with CDC best practices for COVID-19. 
  • Ensure drop-off locations are established and operated fairly and equitably

"Ensuring that every eligible voter in the Commonwealth of Virginia has a full and fair opportunity to exercise their right to vote is critical to our democracy," stated the letter. "The foregoing principles and guidelines are not intended to be an exhaustive approach to ensuring fairness in this November’s election, but timely adherence to such principles and guidance will serve to advance the rights of all voters in Virginia. We encourage you to take steps to implement such uniform guidance in the November 2020 election and in future elections."

You can read the full letter in the attachment below.