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Attorney General of Virginia

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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219


For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


~ The agreement provides Virginians with disabilities various options, including the “Ballot Marking Tool,” to help them vote safely in November’s election ~

RICHMOND Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced that a federal court has approved a consent decree negotiated by his office that will allow Virginians with disabilities to participate in November’s election while also promoting public health and encouraging safe absentee voting. Under the terms of the approved consent decree, the Commonwealth will provide Virginia voters with disabilities various options, including using screen reader assistive technology, to vote privately and independently. The order was approved by Judge Claude M. Hilton in the Eastern District of Virginia.


“As Attorney General, I have a duty to make sure that every eligible Virginian, including those with disabilities, are able to exercise their right to vote, while also promoting health and safety,” said Attorney General Herring. “Safe, secure voting in Virginia has been a top priority of mine as we continue to navigate the various challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This agreement is another big win for democracy and for Virginia voters, who continue to worry about their health and safety during this time.”


The consent decree states that “the Court finds that…[the] Decree is fair, adequate, and reasonable…because such agreement preserves the Constitutional right to vote…while promoting public health during a pandemic and does so without harming the integrity of Virginia’s elections.”


As part of the consent decree, the Commonwealth agreed to “make available to all localities a tool that will allow print disabled voters to electronically receive and mark absentee ballots using screen reader assistive technology.” Additionally, the Commonwealth will “issue updated guidance to…registrars” and “instructions to all localities that the localities must make the Ballot Marking Tool available to all print disabled voters.” The Commonwealth will also “take reasonable steps to provide information to the public regarding the Ballot Marking Tool.”


Attorney General Herring has also reached two agreements to promote safe voting by mail for both the June 23rd primaries and the November 3rd election by allowing for the acceptance of absentee ballots without a witness signature “for voters who believe they may not safely have a witness present while completing their ballot.”


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