Virginia Senate Democrats delay constitutional changes and reject GOP voting measures.

 A Democrat-led Virginia Senate subcommittee blocked three Republican-sponsored voting proposals on Tuesday and postponed additional constitutional changes until after this year's session.

After the November elections, when Democrats kept their Senate majority and flipped control of the House of Delegates, the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee decided to carry over the previously announced changes without discussion.

The initiatives included repealing the state constitution's same-sex marriage ban, expanding abortion access safeguards, and reforming civil rights restoration for ex-felons. Senate Democratic Leader Scott Surovell texted that the proposed modifications will be carried over until the 2025 session, a customary process as amendments are usually offered in odd-numbered years

The action won't delay voters' consideration of the propositions. Constitutional amendments must pass both houses of the General Assembly in two years, with a House of Delegates election between. In odd-numbered years, such elections are held every two years, hence the earliest vote is 2026.

I think what they wanted to do is put all these folks on record right before the (2025) election,” said senior political analyst Bob Holsworth.

A House Democratic caucus spokesman did not reply to questions about whether leadership will do the same with upcoming proposals in that house. The committee also extended Lynchburg Republican Sen. Mark Peake's 2029 plan to limit lieutenant governor and attorney general terms to two terms until 2025.

Jeremy McPike, a Democratic senator, said it did not apply to his constitutional proposal to provide a tax exemption for the surviving spouses of fallen troops. That plan passed last year and might be on the ballot this autumn if approved again.

The Senate committee then considered and rejected three Republican-sponsored voting access measures, including one to abolish same-day registration on Election Day and shorten the state's early voting period.

“We vehemently oppose and will relentlessly combat all legislative attempts to undermine or restrict voting access in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” the Senate Democratic caucus declared following the hearing. Peake sponsored the measure to limit same-day registration, saying it burdened registrars. He referenced previous election cycle reports of large gatherings in university towns Blacksburg and Williamsburg.

The committee rejected Peake's plan to reduce absentee voting from 45 to 21 days. Peake claimed that the extended absence period was out of step with even liberal states and burdened registrars and campaigns that may monitor or staff polls. The Virginia NAACP and League of Women Voters opposed the bill. The committee also opposed a picture ID requirement for voters. Photo ID was repealed by Virginia Democrats in 2020.

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