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RPV Asks Court to Hold AG Herring, Department of Elections in Contempt

Richmond, VA – On August 5, Attorney General Mark Herring agreed to eliminate the witness signature requirement in Virginia—an agreement later endorsed by order of a federal judge. For nearly 30 days after the agreement, Herring and his cronies in Richmond never communicated that change to the public. He cared more about his relationship with liberal interest groups than Virginia voters. Now, the Washington Post is reporting that Herring’s actions are sowing voter confusion across the state—even within the liberal groups he was trying to bring into the fold! (“Witnesses aren’t needed for absentee voting in Virginia. But the instructions sometimes say otherwise,” Washington Post, Sept. 23, 2020).

“We have come to expect the Attorney General to ignore his obligation to defend Virginia’s laws and to protect less fortunate voters, but ignoring a court order that he himself requested is a new low,” said Rich Anderson, RPV Chairman. “It’s now quite clear that Herring’s actions in this case were not about protecting Virginians’ voting rights, but scoring points with the ACLU as part of his recently-announced re-election bid.”

Anderson explained, “RPV opposed the many last-minute changes made to our election laws, but now that those changes have been made, every voter deserves accurate information about how to cast a ballot. That’s why we have gone back to court to insist that they live up to their obligation to explain the elimination of the witness signature requirement to voters.”

In League of Women Voters v. State Board of Elections, the case that eliminated the witness signature requirement for absentee ballots, RPV has asked the Judge to order Herring to explain and correct the confusion the Department of Elections caused voters with the poor instructions accompanying absentee ballots.

Rather than defending the Virginia Code’s witness signature requirement, Herring worked directly with the ACLU attorneys representing the League of Women Voters to ask the Court to eliminate the requirement. Despite his role in drafting the court order, Herring failed to comply with its terms on informing voters of the change.

League of Women Voters v. State Board of Elections, is before federal Judge Norman Moon in the Lynchburg Division of the Western District of Virginia, Case No. 6:20-cv-24. RPV’s filing is available here.