In 2018, Democrats in the state won control of the House of Delegates, making it one of the first states in the country to pass a new law to give voters the right to vote on Election Day.
Now, they’re hoping to use the state’s new law, the Virginia Voter Expansion Act, to expand the number of early voting locations and give voters more options.
But before the state can make the change, it will need to pass three more pieces of legislation.
Democrats want to expand early voting hours, require people to show photo ID to vote, and require voters to show identification at the polls.
It would be the third time Democrats have attempted to expand voting hours and requirements under the law.
The first two attempts failed.
The third attempt failed last year.
Democrats have a solid base of support in Virginia, with about half of the state voted for President Donald Trump.
But the new law will be tested in 2018.
There’s still plenty of time to make the changes, as the governor has until 2020 to sign or veto the law and until then, the governor can sign a law that expands early voting, but not a law requiring all voters to be fully compliant with the law or requiring photo ID.
The governor is currently reviewing the bill, but has not taken a final stance on the bill.
Democratic lawmakers are confident the law will pass.
“The governor is a big believer in the integrity of our elections, and I think that’s why we’re so confident in passing this law,” said Virginia Republican Sen. David Perdue.
Democrats also hope to expand pre-registration and early voting.
While many states have passed measures expanding early voting and pre-registered voters, Virginia has not.
The pre-register requirement, which has been in place since 2007, is designed to give early voters the opportunity to cast ballots in person and have them counted by hand, rather than relying on paper ballots.
The law would allow voters to register online and mail in absentee ballots for later use.
“We’re hoping this will be the last piece of the puzzle,” said Rep. Robert Garrett (D-Virginia), who is sponsoring the legislation.
The bill also would allow voting for those who are incarcerated, those who have experienced domestic violence, and those with a chronic illness.
Those who are eligible for the law could register to vote with a federal-government-run database and vote in person at any of Virginia’s six early voting sites.
But that will be a far cry from the tens of thousands of people who have been disenfranchised since the law was passed in 2020.
The current system, which includes people with criminal records, has been used for only about 3.5% of the countywide early voting population, according to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice.
The Virginia bill will also expand the types of places people can vote.
If voters are unable to get to a particular location due to an existing or planned road closure, they can request a change to the election date and then vote at that location instead of voting at a different location.
Those requests would be accepted and processed within 90 days of the date of the change.
But it would not be possible to request a ballot at any other location in the county.
The legislation also would expand early-voting sites to include the same locations used in other states that have expanded voting hours.
For example, counties in California that already had pre-poll voting would be able to extend the hours.
Republicans have criticized the new legislation for making it harder for people who live in counties where voting hours are reduced or eliminated to vote.
The state already has the longest voter registration period in the nation, which lasts for a total of nearly three years.
In 2018 Republicans also passed the Voting Rights Act, which required states to hold voter registration drives every four years to increase the participation of minorities and to increase voting rights.
Republicans say the Voter Expansion Law will give the state more time to implement the legislation and expand the early voting period.
Democrats say the bill will make it harder to register voters, which is part of what they say is the problem with the current system.
“There are a lot of people out there who have not registered in Virginia,” said Republican Sen: Mark Warner (D).
“The voter registration drive will have an impact on turnout.
And we want to make sure that it doesn’t impact the turnout of those who want to vote.”