Kate Wellington from Seattle, WA, USA via Wikimedia Commons

The Fairfax Board of Supervisors has a last-minute request for a voting rule change for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

With early voting for the Nov. 2 general election underway, the governing body for Fairfax County wants Northam to waive the witness signature requirement for absentee ballots.

Democrats hold nine out of the board’s ten seats. Despite Virginia’s blue hue, the gubernatorial election has Democrats running scared. Fundraising emails for Terry McAuliffe have an increasingly urgent tone. The linguistic change comes as polls show Republican Glenn Youngkin within striking distance.

While Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay says the waiver is necessary because of the threat COVID-19 poses, many Republicans are crying foul.

As The American Spectator reports:

The New York Times reported Sunday that Virginia’s cases and hospitalizations have declined 17 and 14 percent respectively during the past two weeks.  Moreover, Virginia’s state of emergency expired June 30 as did the numerous executive orders Gov. Northam issued pursuant to the pandemic. The sole Republican member of the Fairfax board, Pat Herrity, voted against asking Northam to issue such an extraordinary waiver, pointing out that voting has already been underway for three weeks: “To do this in the middle of an election process in the name of COVID is nonsensical.” He also emphasized election integrity: “Witness signatures are important as they provide another line of defense against voter fraud.”

Until last year, all absentee ballots cast in a Virginia election had to be signed by a witness confirming that the voter was indeed eligible to vote and legally registered. This long standing statute was temporarily suspended during the 2020 general election pursuant to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. The moratorium ended after the Commonwealth’s state of emergency was lifted, but Fairfax County has refused to give up its emergency powers despite a 21 percent decline in cases. Nonetheless, a recent statement by Virginia’s Department of Elections reiterates that “witness signatures are required on all absentee ballots.” The Fairfax County Democrats are not happy, as McKay makes abundantly clear:

Last year we expanded voting opportunities in the midst of the pandemic, as I stated before this county is still in a state of emergency, and we should be doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible for our residents to vote, regardless what of what other elected officials falsely say about elections in Virginia.… No one should have their ballot rejected because they’re unwilling to risk their health and safety to vote. We want to be a county that promotes voter participation and doesn’t punish people.

However, the American Spectator’s David Catron argues that Virginia Democrats are changing the rules under the guise of protecting public health because they’re privately worried that Youngkin has the momentum.

Youngkin may be a newcomer, but he immediately recognized McAuliffe’s egregious gaffe as a slow pitch coming right across the middle of the plate. He immediately put together a campaign ad and has consistently reminded Virginia’s voters that McAuliffe is in thrall to the teachers’ unions and the Virginia school boards they have packed with union-friendly members. Moreover, he has turned the “inexperience” argument into an asset rather than a liability. Sensing that Virginia’s voters have grown weary of the clumsy controversies of Ralph Northam (e.g. his blackface scandal and red flag laws) and have even less appetite for another four years under a Clinton bag man, he embraces his status as an outsider:

Continue reading at The American Spectator.