Monday, February 4, 2013

Obenshain Bill to Keep Voter Rolls Clean Passes Senate

Would Aid in Removal of Non-Citizens from Voting Rolls

RICHMOND—Today, the Senate of Virginia approved SB 1077, legislation patroned by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg), which authorizes the State Board of Elections to enter into an agreement with the federal government for use of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement (SAVE) Program database as an additional tool to keep Virginia voter rolls clean, accurate, and up-to-date.

"Keeping our voter rolls clean is a constant challenge, and one that is necessary for our electoral system to work," said Obenshain. "Registrars, working with the State Board of Elections, use all of the tools at their disposal to keep these rolls accurate, removing deceased voters, those who have moved, and others who should no longer be on the rolls. This bill provides one more way for them to keep the rolls clean."

The SAVE Program, designed to screen applicants for entitlement programs for eligibility purposes, maintains a record of the status of non-citizens lawfully in the United States, and can be used by the State Board of Elections to remove from the rolls any legally present non-citizens who may be listed as registered voters.

"Due to 'Motor Voter,' many people wind up registering to vote without even knowing it," said Obenshain. "It's easy to check one extra box inadvertently when applying for a driver's license, and that registration can remain on the rolls for years. Senate Bill 1077 will make it easier for election officials s to keep our voter lists clean and ensure that those on the rolls are legally eligible to vote."

Under the provisions of the bill, any registered voter whose registration is challenged due to the screening will receive a notice and have the opportunity to sign a statement affirming that they are, in fact, entitled to vote, which will keep them on the rolls.

"This is a common sense measure to ensure the integrity of elections in Virginia," said Obenshain. "The SAVE database will assist us in ensuring that we only have eligible voters on our voter rolls. Just as we make efforts to remove residents from other states, the deceased, and convicted felons who have not had their rights restored, we should also remove those we know to be ineligible because they are not citizens. It's just plain common sense."

Senate Bill 1077 passed 23-17; a vote tally is available at

Mark Obenshain has served in the Senate of Virginia since 2004, and is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Attorney General of Virginia.


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