House Democratic Leader, David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville/Albemarle)
With Monday, October 17th. tje last day to register to vote in the November 8th presidential elections the on voter registration systems collapsed under the load of last-minute attempts to register. It took a federal judge to validate and force a 5-day extension to midnight Friday.
State law closes registration 21 days in advance of election with no exceptions.
House Democratic Leader, David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville/Albemarle), today announced that a proposed change in state law to address emergencies that prevent citizens attempting to register from doing so in time of emergency. The proposed law would allow the S
Southeast Action Forum (SEAF) sent nine invitations and almost all accepted for Wednesday night. Laura Padget is President of SEAF and Mark Powell was the moderator. Candidates gave their reasons why the voters should elect or re-elect them. Incumbent Delegate Onzlee Ware (D-11) was the only no-show.
Ware’s opponent, R-Troy Bird said he’d “wished his opponent had shown up to address some of the issues.” Southeast splits with part in the 11th district (Ware and Bird) and part in the 17th district (Bill Cleaveland and Gwen Mason).
Each candidate was allotted 5 minutes and asked to leave a few of those minutes for questions from the 30 or so attendees at Jackson Park Library in Southeast Roanoke.
Mark Powell, Moderator
There were a few jabs here and there at candidate opponents. Troy Bird made note of Ware’s absence and disparaging remarks about the value of a GED which he had. Bird was home-schooled and graduated at age 15.
Bill Cleaveland Republican candidate for the 17th made his pledge clear that he would not raise taxes and would not cut education to fund transportation. His opponent Gwen Mason Democrat explained in detail Roanoke City department budget process. Mason pointed out the severe State budget shortfalls and how it effects decision she’s had to make as a Roanoke City Council member.
Frank Garrett Democrat for Sheriff brought the publicised issues regarding Sheriff Octavia Johnson (R) to the attention of the audience. He complained of high turnover and low moral in the sheriff’s office. He also chided Johnson for hiring her sister for public relations saying the sheriff should serve as their own PR person.
Brian Keenum (I) dismissed Garrett’s accusation that Garrett was the only one of the three candidates for sheriff that “had any police experience whatsoever … not one call have they been on,” said Garrett. Keenumlisted his experience saying he went on emergency calls and “had to make life and death decisions.” Keenun said he had 10 years experience in corrections – five years as a deputy sheriff and five years as a sergeant.
Incumbent Democrat Commissioner of Revenue Sherman Holland took note of his opponent, Douglas Walker’s (R) youth. Walker is 33 years old. Holland touted his experience making it clear he had tax experience that Walker did not. He claimed bills would be in error without that experience. Holland took a question about the TV coverage that admonished him for lack of collecting business fees and an error in businessman Sands Woody’s bill. Holland explained that the businesses were inactive and the media just wanted to sell airtime.
Douglas Walker (R), Holland’s opponent elluded to Holland’s office being in disarray and the need for policies, procedures and processes. He touted his business experience.
Following the forum I ask the HOD candidates Cleaveland, Bird and Mason if they would support the bill (HJ182)now in the House Privileges and Elections committee. The bill would give non-violent felons immediate voting rights after their release and following compliance with parole or other restrictions. Delegate Ware had brought it up at a gathering of ex-felons in Elmwood park recently. Currently non-violent felons have to wait three years then the governor has to restore their voting rights.
Cleaveland said yes with the caveat that they “should petition for the right” and make application that would prove they were intent on exercising their right to vote. This would show that they are sincere. Bird said that it was “absurd” that non-violent felons did not get their voting rights restored immediately. He said, “they are still human beings.” Mason said she would “have to think about it.”
For details view the videos below and visit their websites: