Candidates discuss voting requirements and more at forum

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- The two candidates running for the 25th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates have very different opinions about voting requirements.

Republican Delegate Steve Landes and his Democratic challenger, Angela Lynn, answered several questions during a forum at the Senior Center on Wednesday afternoon.

One of the hot topics was Virginia's voter identification, which requires a picture ID to vote.

Landes said the ID law is needed to prevent voter fraud. He claimed that he has received reports that thousands of people who are not U.S. citizens have voted in Virginia elections.

"A secure and protected voting system is important," Landes said, "to make sure that the actual people that are voting are the folks that are eligible and should be voting."

But Lynn said the law is really just a tactic to make it harder for certain people to vote.

"It does hurt the people who are not really represented well in this General Assembly," she said. "That would be women and minorities. That is the population that this hurts the most with voter suppression."

Landes and Lynn also disagreed on redistricting. Lynn said the district boundaries make the seats too safe for incumbents, and she favors having an independent panel draw the district boundaries, instead of lawmakers.

Landes said drawing the district map is an important task that lawmakers are elected to perform, and he believes they should continue to be in charge of drawing district boundaries, but he supports updating the Virginia constitution to make sure the maps are not drawn with political considerations in mind.

The candidates also discussed the revenue-sharing agreement between Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The deal requires the county to send about $15 million of tax revenue a year to the city, in exchange for the city not annexing county land. Current state law prevents Charlottesville from annexing county land anyway, so many county residents say the deal is depriving the county of much-needed tax dollars.

Landes said he would work on legislation or a budget amendment that would end the revenue-sharing agreement. But Lynn said the deal is between two localities, and she doesn't think state lawmakers should try to get in the middle of it.

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