Could Virginia's State Board of Elections Be Less Partisan?

Oct 9, 2018

Republicans in Richmond are hoping to make Virginia’s Electoral Board less partisan. A suite of proposed changes comes after a recent legislative report highlighted past complaints about political bias in the Department of Elections.

Republicans submitted legislation Tuesday that would double Virginia’s Electoral Board -- requiring the six members be evenly split between the two leading political parties.

Delegate Margaret Ransone wants to remove partisan politics from the running of elections.

“People need to feel sure that our elections are run, they are run fair,” Ransone says. “When we go to the polls they need to know that their vote matters.”

Ransone’s legislation would also let the Board hire the Commissioner of Elections -- a position currently appointed by the Governor.

“Every time you get a new Governor you don’t want to get a new Commissioner,” Ransone says. “That’s confusing for the registrars back at home that have a very difficult job.”

Similar legislation failed to pass the General Assembly last year.

James Alcorn, Chairman of the Board of Elections, says the relationship between the Board and the Department has been discussed before.


“Our board, the three of us working on the board, have been rather adamant that as much as possible we should be nonpartisan actors. Not just bipartisan but nonpartisan actors,” Alcorn says. “The same thing should apply to leadership at the Department of Elections.”


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association