VA Governor Appoints New Board of Elections Members

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Virginia’s State Board of Elections – which is slated to grow under a new bill currently awaiting final enactment – has three new faces after the Governor exercised his right to appoint new members. The Times-Dispatch has more:

Gov. Ralph Northam is cleaning house at the State Board of Elections, naming three new commissioners — including a former Republican legislator from the Richmond suburbs swept out in the 2017 anti-Trump wave.

In a written statement Friday afternoon, Northam said he was appointing Bob Brink, an aide in former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration and former Democratic member of the House of Delegates from Arlington County; lawyer Jamilah D. LeCruise of Norfolk and former Del. John O’Bannon, R-Henrico.

O’Bannon, who served in the House from 2001 to 2018 and was defeated in 2017 by Democrat Debra Rodman, was a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. O’Bannon, like Northam, is a physician.

The board oversees statewide elections, tabulates results and implements election policies set by the General Assembly and governor. That includes voter ID requirements, equipment and training election officers.

The board — its membership would expand from three to five under a measure sent by the legislature to Northam last month — also supervises an elections commissioner picked by the governor.

State law requires that two of the three members are affiliated with the governor’s political party.

The third member is selected from the party that is out of power.

Members serve four-year terms and must be approved by the General Assembly.

Brink, who served in the House from 1998-2014, is Northam’s pick for chairman, said press secretary Alena Yarmosky. He was a senior legislative adviser to McAuliffe after serving in the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services.

LeCruise is the board’s second Democratic member. O’Bannon is the Republican representative.

The previous board members — McAuliffe-era appointees — were replaced, though they were eligible for second terms, Yarmosky said. The replaced members were Chairman James Alcorn, Singleton B.McAllister and Clara Belle Wheeler.

This announcement is far less dramatic than it appears; Virginia law grants the Governor (who is limited to one term) the ability to appoint new members in the second calendar year after election. That said, three new members – plus the likely expansion to five – will represent significant changes for the Commonwealth as it approaches 2019 legislative elections and the 2020 presidential election cycle.

Stay tuned …

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