In this week’s newsletter, I discuss the Governor’s decision to withdraw Virginia from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), share information on primary election voting, provide an update on recent commission meetings, and reflect on community meetings and engagements from this past week. Thank you for taking the time to read the newsletter and for staying informed.
Withdrawal from ERIC
Last Thursday, the Governor’s administration withdrew Virginia from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). Virginia is the latest Republican-led state to abruptly depart from ERIC. This sudden departure from ERIC, without any consultation with the legislative branch, is disturbing to say the least. During the recent session, neither the Governor nor members of his administration raised any concerns about Virginia’s participation in ERIC. In fact, Virginia’s unexpected exit is ironic since the Commonwealth was one of the founding members of ERIC, joined in collaboration with other states under the leadership of a Republican Governor, and has repeatedly affirmed the value of ERIC in maintaining the integrity of voter rolls.
In a statement Susan Beals, the Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner, echoed false conspiracy theory talking points about ERIC’s effectiveness, legitimacy, and privacy. Beals’ change of position on ERIC appears to coincide with her recent attendance at a right-wing gathering sponsored by the American Heritage Foundation. This Virginia tax-payer supported trip itself drew public scrutiny because of its distinctly partisan nature.
Shane Hamlin, ERIC’s Executive Director, has responded effectively to the conspiracy-driven concerns promoted by Beals by stating ERIC has never connected to any state’s voter registration system and that members retain complete control over their voter data.
ERIC is a non-profit membership organization solely dedicated to helping improve accuracy of voter data—updating voter rolls, removing ineligible voters, investigating potential voter fraud, and helping provide voter registration information to eligible voters. Virginia's withdrawal from ERIC is a backward step in our efforts to make elections accurate by tracking voters who may have moved within the state, between states, died, or potentially voted in two different states.
Both the Senate and the House Democratic Caucuses are united in our calls for Virginia to remain within ERIC and for greater transparency in the administration’s efforts to disrupt election integrity processes during a very critical election year in Virginia, when all 140 seats of the General Assembly are up for election.
Early Voting for June Primaries
The June primaries are just one month away now, but voters have already begun early voting. Early voting gives everyone a chance to cast their ballot at a day and time that is convenient for their schedule.
Early, In-Person Voting
Voters can request an absentee ballot for the June 2023 primary by 5:00 pm, Friday, June 9, 2023. All ballots must be postmarked by June 20 (Primary Election Day), or dropped off at the corresponding drop off location. Using a delivery service that allows tracking is recommended.
Register to Vote
The last day to register to vote or to update existing voter information for the June Primary is May 30. Voters can register to vote or check voter registration status at the Virginia Department of Elections.
This past week, I attended several Commission and Workgroup meetings at the Capitol, as part of my appointed legislative responsibilities.
I am honored to have been recently appointed to the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Commission. This Commission focused on several key items, including the following:
The Commission will also focus on its ongoing projects, including an examination of the history of lynching in Virginia.
The Virginia Housing Commission also convened four workgroups this past week to consider issues raised within recent legislative proposals. These workgroups are 1) Land Use and Community Living, Landlord Tenant, 2) Real Estate Law, and Affordable Housing Solutions, 3) Real Property, Community Development, and Best Land-Use Practice, and 4) Short-Term Rentals. I am serving on the latter two workgroups. In the Short Term Rental workgroup, we discussed the issue of short-term rentals and their various implications for neighborhoods, home insurance, taxing structures, and much more.
The Joint Commission on Health Care met Wednesday morning as well, and focused on defining the research agenda for the Commission for this upcoming year. We also received an update on Medicaid Unwinding and its impacts on Virginians.
Highlights from Community Events & Meetings
Connecting With My Office