Wilt Statement on Veto of Voter Registration Legislation

May 18, 2018

Harrisonburg – Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham) released the following statement after learning that Governor Northam vetoed House Bill 1144:

“I am deeply disappointed in the Governor’s decision to veto HB 1144. This was a common-sense bill that would have improved accuracy and accountability in the voter registration process. It simply required any third-party individual that assists an applicant with the completion of their voter registration application to include their basic contact information on the application.

“In vetoing the legislation, Governor Northam used scare tactics and misinformation to justify his decision, claiming that the failure of an individual to include this information could lead to delays or denials of eligible voter applications. We were meticulous in our review of this legislation and were assured by staff attorneys that an otherwise valid application could not be denied based on missing contact information.

“Instead, this would have provided registrars an additional tool to correct possible errors and further educate individuals working as part of a voter registration drive on the need to ensure the accurate completion of applications. In the more egregious cases, it could have also served as a way to deter voter registration fraud and provided valuable information to investigate suspected cases of registration fraud.

“Voter registrars from across the Commonwealth report that applications turned in as part of registrations drives often contain numerous errors and omissions. That’s why the Voter Registrars Association of Virginia saw the value in this legislation and fully supported it.

“It is unfortunate that the Governor opted to once again revert to his party’s position of avoiding any policy that might remotely improve the integrity and accuracy of the election process. This position is out of touch with the desires of the Virginia electorate and I had hoped for better from our new Governor.”