Virginia Governor Ralph Northam – November
The awards honor the electoral department’s training efforts to ensure election security in Virginia
RICHMOND– Governor Ralph Northam today thanked the employees of the Virginia Department of Elections for conducting a safe, successful and secure election marked by a record turnout. Nearly 3.3 million people voted in the 2021 election statewide, and the department won two Telly awards for its PROTECT 2020: Virginia Elections Virtual Security Workshop.
“The Virginia Department of Election’s Commitment to Fair and Free Elections Protects Our Democracy” Governor Northam said. “We have worked hard to remove barriers and ensure that voting is accessible for every eligible Virginian. Elections must be secure so that everyone’s voice is heard. Thank you to the hard-working employees at the Elections Department for all you do.
Virginia has passed sweeping electoral reforms over the past two years, making it easier to vote, even as other states took steps to make voting more difficult. The Virginia Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in election administration, requires local election officials to obtain prior comment or approval for voting changes, and allows individuals to sue if voters are removed . It requires localities to seek public comment or the prior approval of the attorney general’s office on any proposed voting change, and allows voters and / or the attorney general to sue in the event of voter suppression. Civil penalties imposed as a result of electoral discrimination will go to a new voter education and awareness fund.
The law also prohibits general local elections if they dilute the voting power of racial minorities. It also ensures accessibility by requiring local election officials to provide voting materials in foreign languages, as needed.
New laws voted in 2020:
- Establishment of 45 days of early voting without excuse,
- Discriminatory Voter Identification Act repealed,
- made election day a public holiday,
- Implementation of automatic check-in for those accessing the service at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and
- Extended in-person voting hours.
These reforms significantly increased voter turnout. The 2020 presidential election saw over 4.4 million voters and the 2021 statewide election saw nearly 3.3 million voters.
To ensure election security, the Virginia Department of Elections has invested heavily in the training of election officials and election officers. The department developed PROTECT 2020 as a federal, state, and local collaboration to support the training needed to ensure election security in Virginia. The Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation and the Angela Costello Group worked with the department to produce the award-winning PROTECT 2020 series. The 14-virtual workshop series shared security best practices and operational procedures with local government leaders , information technology professionals, local emergency management staff and election offices at all levels. The content has been designed to improve threat awareness, facilitate planning, and develop recommendations.
The workshop won two Telly awards in the “non-release: training” and “non-release: internal communications” categories.
The Telly Awards were created in 1979 to recognize each year the best videos created on television and on all screens. The winners of the Telly Award showcase the excellent work of some of the most acclaimed advertising agencies, television stations and organizations from around the world. This year, the Telly Awards received more than 12,000 entries from 50 states and five continents.
“Commissioner Piper and the staff of the Elections Department deserve to be recognized for their tireless work,” Administration Secretary Grindly Johnson said. “Every day, they work to ensure the Commonwealth is ready for local, state and federal elections. ”
“We are particularly honored by the recognition that these awards give to our constant efforts throughout the year to guarantee free, fair and secure elections,” said Virginia Department of Elections commissioner Christopher Piper. “This is particularly gratifying given that PROTECT 2020 was our very first virtual training effort, which met our training goals while ensuring that COVID-19 health precautions were taken to protect everyone involved.”
For more information on the Virginia Department of Elections, click here, call (800) 552-9745, or E-mail the Department. Voters are also encouraged to follow the department on Twitter at @vaElect, on Facebook at @VirginiaELECT, and on Instagram at @va_election.
# # #