By Brandon Jarvis

The House of Delegates passed legislation on Friday afternoon that would increase the opportunity for Virginians to vote amid the fear of contracting COVID-19 during the current health crisis.

The House of Delegates voted 54-42 to pass legislation that would provide for ballot drop-off boxes at voting locations. Democrats are pushing this legislation because they say this will provide voters with a safe option to drop off their absentee ballot without having to interact with another person and risk contracting COVID-19.

Republicans have been stressing the security of the boxes along with the fiscal cost of paying for the postage and boxes. Democrats have repeatedly stated that this legislation is already in place in 30 states and that they have yet to see any glaring cases of fraud.

Delegate Kirk Cox (R) was the only Delegate to speak out against the bill during the House session on Monday. Cox said $2 million is a lot of money to Virginians and he urged the House to vote against the bill.

“We have taken steps today to ensure we protect Virginians’ sacred voting rights from interference – whether from a pandemic or the Postmaster-General,” said Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn (D) after the bill passed. “There is nothing more vital to our democracy than the right to vote. Virginians deserve to have their voices heard this November.”

The Senate passed a similar bill on Monday morning. Since this is an Appropriations bill, if the House and Senate cross over the bills and pass the same exact bill, then the legislation would go into place immediately.

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