According to local outlet InsideNova, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted in a 9-1 ruling to submit a letter to Northam, declaring that getting a witness signature puts individuals at risk of catching COVID-19.
“No one should have their ballot rejected because they’re unwilling to risk their health and safety to vote,” announced the letter’s original sponsor, Chair Jeffrey McKay. “We want to be a county that promotes voter participation and doesn’t punish people.”
“During the 2020 election cycle, Virginia made historic strides to expand voting access while protecting the health and safety of our residents, as well as the integrity of our electoral process. This progress should be extended to the signature requirement,” he continued in a separate announcement.
“Witness signatures are important as they provide another line of defense against voter fraud,” he stated. “They’ve been deemed important enough by the General Assembly that they were reestablished outside the state of emergency.”
Herrity further said that waiving the requirement now would be “problematic,” given that early voting in the state started in mid-September, and many absentee ballots have already been sent to Virginia voters.
The move to waive signature verification by Fairfax Democrats comes amid a contentious gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin. Due to a newly published Monmouth University survey, “Youngkin (46%) and McAuliffe (46%) hold identical levels of support among all registered voters.”
The survey further revealed Youngkin is leading among independent voters (48 to 39 percent) and making gains with women voters. While McAuliffe currently holds a 4-point (47 to 43 percent) edge among women, the narrow lead is down from the sizable 14-point advantage the Democrat-held last month (52 to 38 percent).
“Suburban women, especially in Northern Virginia, have been crucial to the sizable victories Democrats have enjoyed in the commonwealth since 2017,” announced Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute Patrick Murray. “However, their support is not registering at the same level this time around. This is due partly to a shift in key issues important to these voters and partly to dampened enthusiasm among the party's faithful.”
The poll’s results on which issues voters care about most reflect Murray’s suggestion. Almost half of the respondents (45 percent) chose jobs and the economy as “the most important first or second factor,” determining their votes, followed by education and schools at 41 percent. Just 23 percent said COVID-19, suggesting that Democrats’ focus on the forever pandemic may not resonate with many voters.