Cathy Dyson writes about King George County.
County gets long-awaited bailout from Department of Justice
King George County got notice today that it’s been granted a bailout, or an exemption from certain provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act.
The county applied for the exemption almost a year ago, as voting officials said they’d like to be able to make simple changes in what they do without going through the expense and paperwork of getting permission from the Department of Justice.
For instance, before the bailout was granted, the county couldn’t change the hours the registrar is open without approval from the justice department, and that approval involves the expense of legal filings. The office also couldn’t have a voter-registration drive without the federal department’s permission. The county is allowed to sign up potential voters at King George High School in the spring and fall, but it didn’t have federal permission to do voter drives at popular events, such as the recent King George Home Show.
Supervisor Joe Grzeika was glad to hear the news, which was announced at a budget work session. “Great,” he said. “I’d been worrying about that.”
When voting officials applied for the measure in March 2011, they hoped the United States District Court would make a decision by May or June. Instead, it took almost a year.
Anyone interested in more information about the exemption can call Registrar Lorrie Gump at 775-9186 or contact the county’s electoral board members: Isaac Hughes, Frederick Crookshank and Lance Bacon.