WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed the Voting Rights Act of Virginia on Wednesday, making the Commonwealth the first state in the South to enact its own Voting Rights Act (VRA). The legislation, passed by Democratic majorities in the state Senate and House of Delegates and signed by a Democratic governor, restores key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were gutted on a nationwide level by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The VRA of Virginia, made up of Senate Bill 1395 and House Bill 1890, would require local election officials to get preapproval from the state attorney general for changes to voting laws, prohibit discrimination in the administration of elections, require local authorities to provide voting materials in multiple languages when needed and ban at-large local elections if they dilute the voting power of minority populations.
In a statement from Gov. Northam’s office, chair of the Voting Rights Subcommittee and sponsor of H.B. 1890 Delegate Cia Price celebrated the law’s passage. “We are making a bold statement against voter suppression,” she said. “We are upholding the dignity, voice, and vote of all Virginians.”