Bills proposed to make it easier to vote in Va., federal elections

WASHINGTON – Efforts are under way in Virginia and nationally to revamp election laws so voters aren’t stuck in long lines at the polls.

In Virginia, the General Assembly next month will review a bill that would allow no-excuse, in-person early voting. Similar bills have failed in the past.

Currently, Virginia voters must meet one of more than a dozen requirements to vote absentee.

November’s long lines and shortage of voting machines may make the Virginia bill more palatable this year.

On the national level, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would require early voting in all federal elections.

Connolly proposes uniform election rules in all states when voters elect senators, representatives and the president.

Connolly wants to offer states that improve access to the polls federal grants. States would be able to get federal assistance if they provided more training for poll workers, allowed early voting at least nine days before an election and gave disabled individuals better access to the polls.

A companion bill in the Senate is sponsored by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

WTOP’s Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow @hsilverbergWTOP and and @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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