DebSF -- February 22nd, 2011
HB 1508 has now passed both the Virginia House of Delgates and State Senate and awaits the governor’s signature. The bill will have a direct impact on the membership and composition of the Harrisonburg City Electoral board. The bill was patroned by Delegate Mark Cole, a Republican from Fredericksburg, and prohibits a member of the local electoral board from being the spouse or other relative of a candidate for office or office holder within any part of the geographical jurisdiction of the electoral board.
Members of the city electoral board currently include Chair Sandra Price-Stroble, Vice Chair Penny Imeson and Secretary Suzanne S. Obenshain, the spouse of state Senator Mark Obenshain. Mrs. Obenshain can remain in her position until the bill goes into effect, which is expected to be July 1. At that point a new Republican member will be appointed to the board.
According to the Harrisonburg city website:
The Harrisonburg City Electoral Board is comprised of three members who are appointed by a majority of the Circuit Court judges of the city for a three year staggered term. Two members represent the political party of the Governor currently in office and one member represents the political party having the second highest number of votes for governor at the last preceding gubernatorial election.
On the way to the final Senate vote, the bill passed through the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections on Feb. 15, where Senator Obenshain serves as a member. The bill passed the committee with a 14-Y, 0-N, 1-A vote (see vote); Senator Obenshain abstained.