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Election Administration in Virginia

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Election Types and Dates

Election Dates

Upcoming Primary Elections

The Presidential primary election is March 1, 2016. The primary election for other federal offices is June 14, 2016.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-22)

Va. 2016 Elections Calendar [link]

Upcoming General Elections

The municipal general election is May 3, 2016. The general election for President and other federal offices is November 8, 2016.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-22)

Va. 2016 Elections Calendar [link]

How is a nominee determined?

How is a nominee determined (caucus, primary, convention)?

It is up to the political parties how they nominate their candidates for the general election. However, in some cases, the incumbent candidate may choose the method of nomination, not the party. Usually, direct primaries or party conventions are used to nominate candidates.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-07)

Va. Code 24.2-509 [link]

Political Party Affiliation

Can voters register by party in the state?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-11)

http://elections.virginia.gov/Files/Forms/VoterForms/VoterRegistrationApplication.pdf [link]

Must voters be registered with a political party if they would like to vote on that party’s candidates in a partisan primary election (i.e., are primaries open or closed)?

Open. A voter may vote in any party's primary election by simply telling the poll workers in which primary they would like to vote. A voter may vote in either primary, but not both primaries held on the same day.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-07)

When can a voter change or switch their party affiliation?

Voters do not register by party in Virginia.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-07)

Virginia Voter Registration Application [link]

Voter Registration

Who Can Vote?

What are the state's residency requirements for voters?

A person must live in Virginia and the precinct in which they wish to register to vote.

Residency must be broadly construed to provide the greatest opportunity to register and to vote for all people, including people who do not live in traditional homes. A residence can be established in a commercial, industrial, or other building that is not normally used for residential purposes if the building serves as the applicant's primary nighttime residence. A homeless person will be considered resident in the location where the homeless person usually sleeps at night. In cases involving nontraditional habitations, the location of the person's usual sleeping area shall be controlling as to the residency of that person. A homeless person can register to vote if he or she intends to remain in a locality indefinitely and provide some residence address indicating the primary place where he or she spends each night. However, a mailing address is required to avoid cancellation of voting eligibility due to returned mail. Some homeless shelters allow people to have their voter registration cards mailed to the shelter address. In addition, if a voter registration applicant provides an address that is temporary in nature or is in a different city, state, or county than the mailing address, or is a commercial, industrial, or other building that is not normally used for residential purposes, or other nontraditional residential address, the registrar is required to send the applicant a supplemental questionnaire that must be answered in writing before the registration deadline for the applicant to be eligible to vote in that election.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-22)

Va. Const. art. II, § 1 [link]

Va. Voter Reg. Drive Guidelines p. 15, 20 [link]

1 Va. Admin. Code § 20-40-30 [link]

1 Va. Admin. Code § 20-40-40 [link]

1 Va. Admin. Code § 20-40-50 [link]

1 Va. Admin. Code § 20-40-60 [link]

Can someone pre-register to vote if they will not be 18 years old by the next election? If so, who?

A 17-year-old who will be 18 by the next general election may register to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-10)

Virginia Code § 24.2-403 [link]

http://sbe.virginia.gov/index.php/registration/how-to-register/ [link]

Can 17-year-olds who will be 18-year-olds by the general election vote in the primary?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-10)

Virginia Code § 24.2-403 [link]

http://sbe.virginia.gov/index.php/registration/how-to-register/ [link]

Does the state take away the right to vote from persons convicted of certain crimes? If so, what crimes?

Yes. A person who is convicted of a felony in state or federal court will lose the right to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-10)

Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Page on Restoration of Rights [link]

If people lose the right to vote because of a criminal conviction, can they regain the right to vote? How?

Those who have been convicted of a violent crime, a crime against a minor, or an election law offense must submit an application to request their rights be restored (for a complete list of crimes that are subject to this provision, see here). The application form is located here. To apply for restoration of rights, these offenders must have completed any prison sentence, or term of supervised probation or parole, at least three years ago; must not have been convicted of any felony in the three years before applying for restoration of rights; and must not have any pending criminal charges.

Those who have been convicted of other felonies are automatically eligible for restoration of rights, and will be mailed a letter regarding their restoration to either their last known address or their home plan address. Those who have not had their rights restored to date may submit a request online or by mail (Online Request form here and mail form here). To be eligible, these offenders must have completed serving their prison sentence and been released from supervised probation or parole, and must have no pending felony charges.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-10)

Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Page on Restoration of Rights [link]

Voter Registration Options

Is fully online voter registration available? (i.e., can voters fill in and submit an online application without printing and signing it?)

Yes – except that if a voter’s information does not match the information in the state’s records (such as DMV records), the voter must print, sign, and submit a hard copy application.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-11)

http://sbe.virginia.gov/index.php/registration/how-to-register/ [link]

https://www.vote.virginia.gov/ [link]

Does the state accept the National Mail Registration Form?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-11)

http://www.eac.gov/assets/1/Documents/Federal%20Voter%20Registration_6-25-14_ENG.pdf [link]

Is the state required to register voters at public assistance agencies and driver's license agencies, per the National Voter Registration Act of 1993?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-11)

http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/nvra/activ_nvra.php [link]

Student-Specific Rules

Does the state have specific rules on students registering to vote or voting?

It is up to students to determine and establish their residency. Importantly, on their registration forms, students may list their college dorm room address as their “residential address” and give a Virginia P.O. Box for their “mailing address.” In order to establish residency the state's constitution and election laws require that Virginia be both a person's “domicile” (meaning that they intend to live and remain in Virginia) and their “place of abode” (meaning the physical place where they dwell). Virginia’s regulations further explain that “domicile” is “the place where a person dwells and which he considers to be the center of his domestic, social, and civil life.” “Domicile is primarily a matter of intention, supported by an individual's factual circumstances” and election officials “shall presume that domicile is at the address of residence given by the person on the [voter registration] application.”

A person establishes residency if they intend to remain at their address for an “unlimited time” – even if they may leave “upon the happening of a future contingency,” such as “graduation from school.” However, a person who presently intends to move away “at a fixed and certain date” may not be considered a resident, depending “on the facts and circumstances of each case.”

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-10)

Virginia Code Ann. § 24.2-101 [link]

Virginia Voter Registration Application [link]

1 Virginia Administrative Code § 20-40-10 [link]

1 Virginia Administrative Code § 20-40-20 [link]

http://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/student-voting-guide-virginia [link]

http://sbe.virginia.gov/index.php/registration/college-student-info/ [link]

Voter Registration Deadlines

When is the voter registration deadline?

22 days before a general or primary election, excluding any legal holiday.

Note: For special elections called by the Governor, the registration deadline will be 7 days prior. Other special elections may have different deadlines.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-11)

http://sbe.virginia.gov/index.php/registration/how-to-register/#deadlines [link]

Virginia Code § 24.2-416 [link]

https://www.vote.virginia.gov [link]

How is the deadline enforced for mailed applications?

The application must be postmarked by the registration deadline. If there is no postmark or if the postmark is illegible or bears no date, the application will be considered to meet the deadline if it is received through the U.S. mail no later than five days following the registration deadline.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-11)

Virginia Code § 24.2-416.4 [link]

http://sbe.virginia.gov/index.php/registration/how-to-register/ [link]

When must a voter make changes to their registration for the changes to be in effect before the person seeks to vote?

Changes to registration can be made using a voter registration form (available at (http://elections.virginia.gov/Files/Forms/VoterForms/VoterRegistrationApplication.pdf)[http://elections.virginia.gov/Files/Forms/VoterForms/VoterRegistrationApplication.pdf]) and must be postmarked by the registration deadline. A voter can also update their information online.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-11)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-416 [link]

https://www.vote.virginia.gov/ [link]

Voter Registration Drives

Does the state require organizations conducting voter registration drives to register?

Groups and individuals that obtain 25 or more voter registration applications from the Department of Elections (ELECT) or a local registrar’s office must register with and provide required information to ELECT or in person at the general registrar’s office. If obtaining more than 25 applications from officials, training requirements and a sworn affidavit approved by the State Board of Elections also apply to individuals and agents representing a group. The affidavit requires affirmation under penalty of perjury that the person has taken the annual training, as well as that he or she will abide by Virginia voter registration laws (including a specific listing of several procedures and rules). In addition, if a person is requesting forms on behalf of an organization, the person must affirm, “I will use my best efforts to ensure that this organization will abide by all Virginia laws and rules regarding the registration of voters, which will include additional training and supervision of individuals working on behalf of my organization.”

Groups that print their own voter registration applications are encouraged but not required to register and receive training.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-22)

Va. Code § 24.2-416.6 [link]

Va. Voter Reg. Drive Guidelines pp. 3, 20 [link]

Va. Third Party Registration Drive Sworn Affidavit [link]

Are there restrictions on getting voter registration forms?

If a group or individual obtains 25 or more voter registration applications from the Department of Elections (ELECT) or a local registrar’s office, then the group or individual must register their drive, receive training, and complete an affidavit (for more details, see the question immediately above). If a group or individual obtains less than 25 voter registration applications from these sources, or if a group or individual prints or copies voter registration forms on their own, no restrictions apply to them.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-22)

Va. Code § 24.2-416.6 [link]

Va. Voter Reg. Drive Guidelines pp. 3, 20 [link]

Va. Third Party Registration Drive Sworn Affidavit [link]

Does the state require any training in order to conduct voter registration drives?

Yes, groups and individuals who obtain 25 or more voter registration applications from the Department of Elections or a local registrar’s office must register with the Department or in person at the general registrar and take training and complete a sworn affidavit.

At least one agent of the organization seeking to obtain applications must complete the training and certify that that the organization will require training for all persons collecting completed voter registration applications from applicants on behalf of the organization. However, if any other individual requests more than 25 applications (even if they claim to represent a group which has already received the training), the individual is still required to complete the training prior to receiving the requested applications. In sum, each individual or agent requesting applications must receive the training. Other groups and individuals conducting voter registration drives that obtain their registration applications through other means are strongly encouraged, but not required, to receive training prior to conducting a drive.

The Department of Elections website indicates that training may be obtained in one of three ways: online, in person training offered by ELECT, or in person at local election official offices. The state voter registration drive guidelines indicate that each local voter registration office will offer in-person training. In addition, written training materials will be available.

Upon completion of in-person training, the group or individual will receive a certificate stating that they have completed the required training for conducting voter registration drives in the Commonwealth. The certification is valid until June 30th each year upon which time the training must be completed again in order to renew the certification.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-22)

Va. Code § 24.2-416.6 [link]

Va. Voter Reg. Drive Guidelines pp. 3, 17 [link]

Va. Dept. of Elections, Virginia Voter Registration Drives [link]

Does the state have restrictions on who may help others register to vote?

Virginia law does not address this issue; however, the state’s voter registration drive guidelines indicate, “[d]o not write or attach anything to the voter registration application related to candidates or ballot measures.”

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-22)

Va. Voter Reg. Drive Guidelines p. 12 [link]

Does the state have restrictions on paying drive workers, or additional rules related to payment?

No.

Are there restrictions on the voter registration drive offering something of value to a person in exchange for completing a voter registration application?

Federal law states that whoever "pays or offers to pay or accepts payment either for registration to vote or for voting shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years." At least one federal appellate court has interpreted "payment" as "intended to include forms of pecuniary value offered or given directly to an individual voter, and indicated the value should be based on "an assessment of the monetary worth of an item from the perspective of the voter receiving the item." That case held that food vouchers could be "payment."

Another example is California's Secretary of State's interpretation of the federal law to mean that "Any type of incentive is considered 'payment,' even things as seemingly innocent as cookies or admission to an entertainment event."

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-22)

52 U.S.C. § 10307(c) [link]

United States v. Garcia, 719 F.2d 99, 102-103 (5th Cir. 1983) [link]

California Secretary of State's Guide to Voter Registration Drives, p. 11[ [link]

Must the registration drive worker sign the completed voter registration application, and must the drive or canvasser place other information on applications?

If the applicant is unable to sign the application for himself due to a physical disability, the voter registration drive worker must include her name and address on the form in the appropriate space.

Any conduct that is unlawful under the Virginia election law but for which no punishment is specifically provided is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-22)

Virginia Voter Registration Application [link]

Va. Code § 24.2-1017 [link]

Does the state have a rule requiring a receipt or other tracking information to be provided to the applicant?

Virginia requires that the state form contain a receipt which must be given to applicants by persons (other than election officials) who collect registration applications and which contains the following information: the name of the office, group, or person receiving the registration application; the date that the office, group, or person received the registration application from the applicant; and the phone number of the general registrar or the toll-free phone number of the Department of Elections that the applicant may call to confirm his registration. The Department of Elections’ guidelines indicate that anyone who offers to collect a registration application must provide a receipt, and that drives may prepare receipts that request and include the same information on the receipt as on the registration application listed above. The Department indicates that groups who fail to give the applicant a receipt to document the timely delivery of completed applications “may be subject to criminal penalties.”

The affidavit required of groups requesting more than 25 applications from election officials requires affirmation that receipts will be provided.

Any conduct that is unlawful under the Virginia election law but for which no punishment is specifically provided is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-22)

Va. Code § 24.2-418.1 [link]

Va. Voter Reg. Drive Guidelines pp. 6-7, 20 [link]

Va. Code § 24.2-1017 [link]

Are there restrictions on copying completed voter registration applications prior to submitting them to the election official, or other restrictions on data entry or disclosure?

Virginia voter registration law prohibits any person assisting an applicant with the completion or return of a mail voter registration form from copying the social security number, or any part thereof, except as authorized by law for official use and any person who discloses or makes any use of any applicant’s Social Security Number, or any part thereof, except as authorized by law for official use, is guilty of a felony. In addition, the affidavit required of groups requesting more than 25 applications from election officials requires affirmation that “I will not copy, duplicate, or distribute any social security number on any application.“ Virginia’s voter registration drive guidelines also note that unauthorized use of any personal information to defraud is a crime. Virginia law does not otherwise directly address pre-submission copying, or other restrictions on data entry or disclosure.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-22)

Va. Code § 24.2-1002.1 [link]

Va. Code § 24.2-416.5 [link]

Va. Voter Reg. Drive Guidelines pp. 11, 20 [link]

Is there a time limit for voter registration groups to submit the voter registration applications they collect?

Yes. Groups must return mail or deliver forms within ten days of completion, or by the registration deadline, whichever is earlier. Applications are considered “on time” if mailed or delivered within 10 days of the applicant’s signature, or if the registration deadline comes first, by receipt at the Department or at any Virginia registrar’s office by 5:00pm on the day of the deadline, or by mailing with a postmark, on or before the final day of registration.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-22)

Va. Code § 24.2-1002.01 [link]

Va. Voter Reg. Drive Guidelines pp. 15-16 [link]

What are the consequences for failing to submit applications on time?

Any person who agrees to mail or deliver a signed application and who intentionally interferes with an applicant’s effort to register by failing to mail or deliver a completed application within the time period described above is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-22)

Va. Code § 24.2-1002.01 [link]

Same-Day Registration

Can voters register and vote on the same day (i.e., does the state offer same-day registration)?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-11)

http://elections.virginia.gov/index.php/registration/how-to-register/#Third [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-416 [link]

Voters Who Have Moved or Changed Their Name

Can people vote if they moved, but did not update their voter registration with their new address?

A voter who has moved from one Virginia precinct to another without their registration being transferred to their new precinct can vote in their old precinct through the next November general election (and any intervening election).

A voter may vote in their old precinct, for federal offices only, through the ensuing second federal general election, if:

  • They have moved from one precinct to another in the same registrar's jurisdiction and the same congressional district;
  • They have not responded to a confirmation of address notice mailed to them by election officials;
  • Their registration has not been transferred or cancelled; and
  • They affirm orally or in writing their new address before an officer of election at the polling place.
Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-18)

http://elections.virginia.gov/registration/view-your-info/ [link]

Va. Code § 24.2-401 [link]

Can people vote if they have changed their name, but did not update their voter registration with their new name?

To remain a qualified voter for an upcoming election, the voter must update their voter registration to reflect their new name before the voter registration deadline.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-09-02)

View Your Info, Va. Dep’t of Elections [link]

Language, Literacy, and Disability Access

Language and Literacy Access

Does the state have any places that must provide election materials in languages other than English, per Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

Yes, Fairfax County must provide election materials in Spanish.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-11)

Voting Rights Act Amendments of 2006, Determinations Under Section 203, 76 Fed. Reg. 63602 (Oct. 13, 2011) [link]

Who can help a voter with reading assistance or translation if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, any voter who needs help when voting because of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may be helped by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Under Virginia law, voters have the right to request help when voting if they are unable to read or write. A voter who is unable to read or write can request an officer of election or any other person for help, except for the voter's employer or union (or officer or agent thereof).

If the voter requires an interpreter for a language other than English and has not designated a person to help interpret for the voter, then an officer of election, before helping the voter as an interpreter, must ask the party and candidate representatives authorized to be at the polling place whether they have a volunteer available who can interpret for the voter. One representative interpreter for each party or candidate, if available, can observe the officer of election communicate with the voter. The voter may also designate one of the party or candidate interpreters to help.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-09-02)

Va. Code § 24.2-649 [link]

52 U.S.C. § 10508 [link]

Disability Access

Who can help a voter with a disability if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, any voter who needs help when voting because of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may be helped by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Under Virginia law, voters have the right to request help voting if they are physically disabled. A blind voter may ask an officer of election or any other person for assistance. A voter who has any other disability can request an officer of election or any other person for assistance, except for the voter's employer or union (or officer or agent thereof). Curbside voting, in which a voter who is 65 years old or older or who has disability, can remain outside of the polling place (but within 150 feet of it) and be brought a ballot (either paper ballot or, if available, a portable electronic ballot) by an election worker if they ask. Some precincts also have audio ballots available.

Additional state rules apply to voters with disabilities who vote an absentee ballot. First-time voters who have a disability are not subject to the usual requirement that first-time voters must vote in person; thus, first-time voters with disabilities may vote an absentee ballot by mail. If a voter with a disability is unable to sign an absentee ballot application, a person assisting the applicant will note this fact on the applicant signature line and provide his signature, name, and address. The voter must also indicate on the application if the reason for being absent from the polls on Election Day is due to disability, illness, or pregnancy.

After receiving an absentee ballot application that contains a mark indicating he will require assistance due to disability, the general registrar will send the voter a Voter Assistance Form. The voter and any person assisting the voter must complete the form by signing the request for assistance and statement required of the assistant. If the voter is unable to sign the request, the witness will note this fact on the line for signature of voter.

Finally, any person who is eligible for an absentee ballot because of a disability or illness and who is likely to remain so eligible for the remainder of the calendar year is eligible to file a special annual application to receive ballots for all elections in which he is eligible to vote in a calendar year. His first such application must be accompanied by a statement, on a form prescribed by the State Board and signed by the voter and his physician or accredited religious practitioner, that the voter is eligible for an absentee ballot under due to disability or illness and likely to remain so eligible for the remainder of the calendar year.

If a voter with a disability applies and is approved for an absentee ballot, but does not receive the ballot or misplaces it, the voter may request a replacement absentee ballot by the close of business for the local elections office on the Saturday before Election Day. The voter may designate, in writing, a representative to obtain a replacement absentee ballot on his behalf from the general registrar and to return the properly completed ballot no later than the time the polls close on Election Day. The representative must be at least 18 years old and may not be an elected official, candidate, or the deputy, spouse, parent, or child of an elected official or candidate. The voter and representative must complete the form prescribed by the State Board for these purposes.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-09-02)

52 U.S.C. § 10508 [link]

Va. Code § 24.2-649 (polling place assistance; curbside voting) [link]

Va. Code § 24.2-701 (absentee application assistance) [link]

Va. Code § 24.2-704 (absentee ballot assistance) [link]

Va. Code § 24.2-703.1 (special annual application) [link]

Va. Code § 24.2-703.2 (replacement ballot) [link]

First-time voter exemption [link]

Does the state have other rules related to access for persons with disabilities?

Each polling place must contain at least one voting system equipped for persons with disabilities, including nonvisual accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, that provides the same opportunity for access and participation (including privacy and independence) as for other voters.

Additionally, in Virginia, a person who has been declared mentally incompetent by a court cannot vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-09-02)

Va. Code § 24.2-626.1 [link]

Va. Const. art. II, § 1 [link]

Early Voting, Absentee Voting, and Other Ways to Vote

Early Voting/Absentee In-Person Voting

Does the state have early voting/absentee in-person voting?

In-person absentee voting is allowed in Virginia – voters must have one of the following reasons for voting in person absentee:

  • Any person who, in the regular and orderly course of his business, profession, or occupation or while on personal business or vacation, will be absent from the county or city in which he is entitled to vote
  • Any person who is (i) a member of a “uniformed service,” including the Merchant Marine and Virginia National Guard, on active duty, or (ii) who temporarily resides outside of the United States, or (iii) the spouse or dependent residing with any person listed in (i) or (ii), and who will be absent on the day of the election from the county or city in which he is entitled to vote
  • Any student attending a school or an institution of learning, or their spouse, who will be absent on the day of election from the county or city in which they are entitled to vote
  • Any person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of election because of a disability, illness or pregnancy
  • Any person who is confined while awaiting trial or for having been convicted of a misdemeanor, provided that the trial or release date is scheduled on or after the third day preceding the election
  • Any person who is a member of an electoral board, registrar, officer of election, or custodian of voting equipment
  • Any duly registered person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of the election because they are primarily and personally responsible for the care of an ill or disabled family member who is confined at home
  • Any duly registered person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of the election because of an obligation occasioned by their religion
  • Any person who, in the regular and orderly course of their business, profession, or occupation, will be at their place of work and commuting to and from their home to their place of work for eleven or more hours of the thirteen that the polls are open (6 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • A law enforcement officer, firefighter, volunteer firefighter, search and rescue personnel or emergency-medical personnel
  • A person who has been designated by a political party, independent candidate or primary-election candidate as a representative of the party or candidate to be stationed inside a polling place on Election Day
Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-11)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-701 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-706 [link]

http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/Absentee_Voting/Index.html [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-700 [link]

Where does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

The office of the local general registrar (though some localities may have satellite locations at locations approved by the electoral board). All counties offer early voting.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-701 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-706 [link]

Va. Code. Ann. § 24.2-707 [link]

http://elections.virginia.gov/index.php/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/ [link]

http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/Absentee_Voting/Index.html [link]

When does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

Absentee voting in person begins approximately 45 days before a November general election. It ends on the Saturday before the election.

For 2015, early voting will be available September 18 - October 31.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-701 [link]

http://sbe.virginia.gov/index.php/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/ [link]

What official chooses early voting/absentee in-person voting locations?

Locations are prescribed by law as the office of the local general registrar (though some localities may have satellite locations at locations approved by the electoral board).

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-701 [link]

Va. Code. Ann. § 24.2-707 [link]

http://elections.virginia.gov/index.php/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/ [link]

Are lists of early voters/absentee in-person voters published? How?

Yes, the registrar must keep a list of all absentee ballot applicants, and that list is open to inspection and copying during regular office hours. The list should also indicate which voters have returned their absentee ballots. Additionally, any political party or candidate can request an electronic copy of the absentee voter applicant list (though there may be a fee).

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-706 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-710 [link]

Absentee Voting by Mail

Can anyone vote absentee by mail without an excuse? If not, what excuses allow a voter to vote absentee by mail?

No. Only the following registered voters may vote by absentee ballot:

  • Any person who, in the regular and orderly course of his business, profession, or occupation or while on personal business or vacation, will be absent from the county or city in which he is entitled to vote
  • Any person who is (i) a member of a “uniformed service,” including the Merchant Marine and Virginia National Guard, on active duty, or (ii) who temporarily resides outside of the United States, or (iii) the spouse or dependent residing with any person listed in (i) or (ii), and who will be absent on the day of the election from the county or city in which he is entitled to vote
  • Any student attending a school or an institution of learning, or their spouse, who will be absent on the day of election from the county or city in which they are entitled to vote
  • Any person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of election because of a disability, illness or pregnancy
  • Any person who is confined while awaiting trial or for having been convicted of a misdemeanor, provided that the trial or release date is scheduled on or after the third day preceding the election
  • Any person who is a member of an electoral board, registrar, officer of election, or custodian of voting equipment
  • Any duly registered person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of the election because they are primarily and personally responsible for the care of an ill or disabled family member who is confined at home
  • Any duly registered person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of the election because of an obligation occasioned by their religion
  • Any person who, in the regular and orderly course of their business, profession, or occupation, will be at their place of work and commuting to and from their home to their place of work for eleven or more hours of the thirteen that the polls are open (6 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • A law enforcement officer, firefighter, volunteer firefighter, search and rescue personnel or emergency-medical personnel
  • A person who has been designated by a political party, independent candidate or primary-election candidate as a representative of the party or candidate to be stationed inside a polling place on Election Day
Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

Va. Code Ann. 24.2-700 [link]

http://sbe.virginia.gov/index.php/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/ [link]

Deadline to apply for absentee ballot by mail

The deadline is 5 p.m. on the 7th day before the election.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-13)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-701 [link]

How does a voter apply for an absentee mail ballot?

A voter must fill out an absentee ballot application. Then the voter may mail, fax or e-mail (by scanning in the completed application and sending it as an attachment) the application to the local registrar.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-701 [link]

http://sbe.virginia.gov/index.php/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/ [link]

Can a voter make an online request for an absentee mail ballot?

No, except that a voter can e-mail an absentee ballot request by attaching a scanned copy of the form.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

http://elections.virginia.gov/index.php/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/ [link]

Does a voter need to submit any supporting documentation or verification with an absentee mail ballot or absentee mail ballot application? If so, what is required?

If an absentee ballot application is made in person, the applicant must provide one of the forms of photo identification required of in-person voters (Valid Virginia Driver’s License or Identification Card; Valid Virginia DMV issued Veteran’s ID card; Valid United States Passport; other photo identification card issued by US Government, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a political subdivision of the Commonwealth; Valid college or university student photo identification card from an institution of higher education located in Virginia; Employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer’s business; or a Virginia Voter Photo ID Card obtained through any local general registrar’s office).

Absentee ballot applications may be submitted only for specific reasons, but besides certain details about the reason (e.g., the name of the place an individual is going because of travel), no supporting documentation or verification is required.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-701 [link]

Are there restrictions on who may request or turn in an absentee mail ballot application for a voter?

The application can be returned by mail, electronic or telephonic transmission to a fax machine, in person, or other means. If an application is completed in person at the office of the general registrar, the voter must personally sign the application in the presence of a registrar. If the person has a disability that prevents personal signature, the voter may have an assistant note that fact on the application, along with the assistant’s name, address, and phone number.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-706 [link]

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/forms/001vaabappenglishjuly2013rev1.pdf [link]

http://elections.virginia.gov/index.php/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/ [link]

Deadline to return absentee ballots

The deadline is 7 p.m. on Election Day. The ballot must be received by the deadline in order to count.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-13)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-709 [link]

Are there restrictions on who may return a voter's absentee mail ballot for them?

Yes. Unless the voter receives assistance due to a disability, the absentee ballot must be completed and returned only by the voter personally.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-707 [link]

First-time voters

New registrants who submitted their voter registration applications by mail must vote in person (either in-person absentee or at the polls on Election Day). Exceptions are if the voter is a full-time college student, absent active duty member of the military, residing overseas, physically handicapped, voting a “presidential only” ballot, or age 65 and over (this last group must also list a qualifying reason for voting absentee, as age itself does not qualify a voter for an absentee ballot).

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-416.1 [link]

http://sbe.virginia.gov/index.php/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/ [link]

Are there any special emergency rules that allow a voter to vote absentee by mail if they are unable to make it to the polls at the last minute?

A voter may request an emergency absentee ballot if: 1) they became ill or incapacitated on or after the 7th day preceding the election; or 2) they became hospitalized on or after the 14th day preceding the election, are still in the hospital and they have been unable to request an absentee ballot earlier than the 7th day before an election. “Incapacitated” means hospitalized, ill and confined to their home; bereaved by the death of a spouse, child, or parent; or otherwise incapacitated by an emergency which is found by the general registrar to justify providing an emergency ballot application. Such voters may request, at any time prior to 2:00 p.m. on the day preceding the election, that an emergency absentee ballot application be delivered. The voter’s designated representative will deliver the application to the voter at the voter’s hospital (if hospitalized) or otherwise at the voter’s current home address. The representative must be 18 years old or older and cannot be an elected official, a candidate for elected office, or the deputy, spouse, parent, or child of an elected official or candidate. The completed application must be returned to the local registrar’s office by 5 p.m. the day before the election, and the voted ballot must be returned before polls close on Election Day.

Separately, a voter may request an emergency absentee ballot if the voter becomes obligated after 12:00 noon on the Saturday before the election to be absent from his county or city on Election Day for a purpose pertaining to (1) his business, profession, or occupation, (2) the hospitalization of the voter or a member of his immediate family, or (3) the death of a member of his immediate family. This also applies if an officer of election is assigned after 12:00 noon on the Saturday before an election to be absent from his precinct and to serve as an officer of election in another precinct on election day. The voter must apply and vote in person by 2 p.m. on the Monday before the election at the principal office of the registrar.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-705 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-705.1 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-705.2 [link]

http://elections.virginia.gov/index.php/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/ [link]

Are lists of people who vote absentee by mail published? How?

Yes, the registrar must keep a list of all absentee ballot applicants, and that list is open to inspection and copying during regular office hours. The list should also indicate which voters have returned their absentee ballots.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-706 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-710 [link]

Presidential-only ballots

Under federal law, any registered voter who moves out of the state after the 30th day before a Presidential election may vote for President and Vice President either in person at the voter’s previous state of residence or using an absentee ballot from the voter’s previous state of residence. Under Virginia law, any registered and qualified voter may request a mail ballot for presidential and vice-presidential electors only by selecting Code 7A on the absentee ballot form, if they moved to a new state within 30 days of the presidential election.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

52 U.S.C. § 10502(e) [link]

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/forms/001vaabappenglishjuly2013rev1.pdf [link]

Absentee Voting for Military and Overseas Voters

Who is eligible for military/overseas absentee voting?

Any person who is:

  • A member of the active or reserve components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard of the United States who is on active duty (or spouse/dependent)
  • A member of the Merchant Marine, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, or the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States (or spouse/dependent)
  • A member on activated status of the National Guard (or spouse/dependent)
  • A United States citizen who is temporarily residing outside the United States
Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-13)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-452 [link]

How do voters apply for a military/overseas ballot?

A voter should fill out a federal post card application. A voter can also request an application from the local registrar. Then the voter may mail, fax or e-mail (by scanning in the completed application and sending it as an attachment) the application to the local registrar.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-13)

http://elections.virginia.gov/Files/CastYourBallot/MilitaryAndOverseas/GuidelinesForVotersThatRequestEmailBallots.pdf [link]

http://sbe.virginia.gov/index.php/registration/military-overseas/ [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-701 [link]

Deadline to apply for a military/overseas ballot

Seven days before the election.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-13)

http://sbe.virginia.gov/index.php/registration/military-overseas/#Third [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-459 [link]

Deadline to return the military/overseas ballot

The ballot must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day to count. However, the ballots of military and overseas voters who requested their ballot at least 45 days before the election but were not sent their ballot 45 days prior to the election will be accepted until 5 p.m. the second business day before the State Board meets to certify the election's results.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-13)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-709 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-462 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-679 [link]

Who is eligible to use a write-in absentee ballot? How does it work?

Any military or overseas voter may use a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) to vote, and it will be counted as long as the FWAB is received by time the polls close on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-13)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-702.1 [link]

On Election Day

Where do you vote in person?

Where do you vote in person?

The voter goes to their assigned polling place.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-13)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-643 [link]

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

6 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-13)

Va. Code Ann. 24.2-603 [link]

In the Voting Booth

Are there rules about what materials a voter can and cannot bring into the voting booth?

Voters may take sample ballots into the voting booth, but cannot give them to anyone within the no-electioneering zone except for a person assisting them in voting. Samples of any ballot (or part of a ballot) cannot be printed on white or yellow paper.

Use of cell phones and other electronic devices by voters at polling places must be monitored by the officers of election who may regulate or prohibit any use the officer determines will hinder or delay a voter or officer of election or otherwise impede the orderly conduct of the election. Use of electronic devices may not interfere nor disrupt the voting process, nor attempt to solicit or attempt to influence any person in casting his vote. Grounds for regulating or prohibiting use of electronic devices include but are not limited to (i) the making or receiving of calls that interfere with or become disruptive to the voting process; (ii) the making or receiving of calls in an attempt to solicit or influence any person in casting his vote; or (iii) the person using the device is conducting himself in a noisy or riotous manner at or about the polls so as to disturb the election.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-17)

Va. Code § 24.2-622 (sample ballots) [link]

1 Va. Admin. Code 20-60-30 (electronic devices) [link]

Can a voter bring children into the voting booth with them?

Yes. A voter may bring their minor child (age 15 or younger) into the voting booth with them.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-13)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-643 [link]

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

No.

Campaigning, Electioneering, and Recording Devices

Are there restrictions on campaigning/electioneering during early voting/absentee in-person voting?

No.

Are there restrictions on campaigning/electioneering on Election Day?

Campaigners must be and stay at least 40 feet away from any entrance to the building in which the polling place is located. This 40-foot "campaign-free" zone is referred to as the "Prohibited Area." No campaign materials including sample ballots signs and posters may be distributed within the prohibited area. Loudspeakers cannot be used within 300 feet of any polling place.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-13)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-604 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-310 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-605 [link]

Can a voter wear a button or t-shirt with a candidate's name or logo on it into the polling place when they vote?

Yes. A voter coming to the polling place solely to vote may wear a shirt, hat, button, sticker or other apparel on which a candidate's name or a political slogan appears.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-13)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-604 [link]

*NEW 2** Can a voter use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) outside the polling place but within the zone around the polling place where campaigning/electioneering is banned?

State law does not separately address this issue (see previous question).

Source (confirmed on: 10/17/2016)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-604 [link]

VA Admin Code § 20-60-30(B) [link]

Who's at the Polls?

What are observers inside the polls called in the state?

“Authorized representative.”

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-604 [link]

Does the state establish requirements to observe inside the polls?

A poll watcher must be a qualified voter of any jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Each representative must bring a written statement designating him to be a representative of the party or candidate and signed by the county or city chairman of his political party, the independent candidate, or the primary candidate, as appropriate. Such statement may be photocopied and used.

The officers of election, at their discretion, may allow a maximum of three (but must allow at least one) poll watchers from each political party, independent candidate, or primary election candidate. When the pollbook is divided (or there are multiple electronic pollbook stations), one poll watcher from each party and one from each independent/primary candidate must be allowed for each pollbook division/station. No more than three poll watchers per party/candidate are allowed even if the pollbook has more than three divisions/stations. Additionally, a local electoral board may authorize in writing the presence of additional neutral observers as it deems appropriate.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-604 [link]

*NEW 3* Can a poll observer use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) in the polling place?

Yes, digital devices and ballot photography are permitted by voters.

Source (confirmed on: 10/26/2016)

VA Admin. Code § 20-60-30(B) [link]

*NEW 3* Can a poll observer use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) in the polling place?

Yes, but representatives of candidates cannot use these devices to take photos or video in the polling place.

Source (confirmed on: 10/15/2016)

VA Admin. Code 20-60-30(B) [link]

Are there other rules on what poll observers can or cannot do?

Authorized representatives are not be allowed in any case to provide assistance to any voter or to wear any indication that they are authorized to assist voters either inside the polling place or within 40 feet of any entrance to the polling place. Additionally, it is unlawful for any authorized representative, voter, or any other person in the room to (i) hinder or delay a qualified voter; (ii) give, tender, or exhibit any ballot, ticket, or other campaign material to any person; (iii) solicit or in any manner attempt to influence any person in casting his vote; (iv) hinder or delay any officer of election; (v) be in a position to see the marked ballot of any other voter; or (vi) otherwise impede the orderly conduct of the election.

A poll watcher may use cell phones or other electronic devices inside the polling place, but such devices cannot have the capacity to take photographs or video recordings.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-604 [link]

1 Va. Admin. Code 20-60-30 [link]

Provisional Voting and Voters at the Wrong Polling Place

When should a voter be offered a provisional ballot?

Under Section 203 of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, if a person claims to be a registered voter in the jurisdiction in which the person desires to vote and the person claims to be eligible to vote in a federal election, but the person’s name does not appear on the official list of eligible voters for the polling place or an election official asserts that the person is not eligible to vote, then that person must be allowed to cast a provisional ballot at that polling place. The person may cast the provisional ballot after completing, in front of an election official at the polling place, a written affirmation stating that the person is (1) a registered voter in the jurisdiction, and (2) eligible to vote in that election.

Additionally, any person who votes in a federal election as a result of a federal or state court order, or any other order extending the time established for closing the polls by a state law in effect 10 days before the date of that election, may only vote in that election by casting a provisional ballot. Any such ballot cast must be separated and held apart from other provisional ballots cast for different reasons.

Under Virginia law, a voter should be offered a provisional ballot under the following circumstances:

  • The voter does not have the required photo identification with him or her at the polls;
  • The voter's name does not appear in the pollbook and his or her eligibility to vote cannot otherwise be established;
  • The voter's name is marked in the pollbook to indicate that he or she has already voted in person; or
  • The voter applied for an absentee ballot, but never received or has lost the absentee ballot, and attempts to vote in person on Election Day or at a duly established central absentee voter precinct.
Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-643(B) [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-651.1 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-653 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-653.1(A) [link]

52 U.S.C. § 21082 (federal law) [link]

If a voter casts a provisional ballot at the wrong precinct, will the ballot be counted?

No, except voters who recently moved from one precinct to another may vote a regular ballot under certain circumstances at old precinct (see question on recent movers).

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-653 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-401 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-643 [link]

Following up on a provisional ballot

The county’s electoral board must hold a meeting the day after the election to determine whether to count provisional ballots. A provisional ballot voter may appear at this meeting to provide information indicating the ballot should be counted or to request an extension to provide the board such information. If the board cannot determine whether a provisional ballot should be counted, or if it grants a voter an extension, it must hold another meeting within 7 days of the election to make its final decisions.

At the electoral board’s meeting to determining whether to count a provisional ballot, a provisional ballot voter who does not appear registered to vote can present proof that he submitted an application for registration to the Department of Motor Vehicles or other state-designated voter registration agency prior to the voter registration deadline. If the registrar determines that the person was qualified for registration based upon the application for registration, the provisional ballot will be counted.

If a voter must cast a provisional ballot due to not presenting a required form of ID, the voter must submit copy of the ID to the electoral board by e-mail, fax, in-person submission, or timely USPS Service or commercial mail delivery. The copy of the ID must be received by the electoral board no later than noon on the third day after the election. Alternatively, by no later than noon on the third day after the election, the voter may appear in-person in the office of the general registrar, in the locality in which the provisional ballot was cast, and apply for a Virginia Voter Photo ID Card. At the completion of the application process, the voter may request a Temporary Identification Document. This document may be provided to the electoral board to suffice the identification requirement.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code § 24.2-653 [link]

In-Person Voting, Va. Dep’t of Elections [link]

Finding out if a provisional ballot was counted

When casting a provisional ballot, election officials will give the voter a phone number to call to find out if the provisional ballot was counted.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-11)

Voter Rights and Responsibilities, Va. Dep’t of Elections [link]

Ballot Shortages/Voting Machine Malfunctions

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a polling place runs out of printed ballots? Are handwritten/photocopied ballots allowed?

If the supply of official paper ballots runs out, poll workers may photocopy the official ballot and give voters a photocopied ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14))

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-642 [link]

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a voting machine breaks or malfunctions?

If a voting machine malfunctions, voters should be given official, printed paper ballots.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-15)

Va. Code § 24.2-646.1 [link]

Voter ID and Challenges

Voter ID

Who must show ID to vote?

All voters.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-13)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-643 [link]

Are there any special requirements for first-time voters?

If a voter registered by mail and wishes to vote by absentee ballot in a federal election, he or she is required to show identification the first time she or he votes in a federal election. Acceptable identification includes: (i) a copy of a current and valid photo identification or (ii) a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

If the voter returns an absentee ballot by mail without a copy of one of these forms of ID, the absentee ballot will be treated as a provisional ballot and will be counted only if the voter provides a copy of ID to the electoral board by the deadline applicable to all voters.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-706 [link]

What ID is acceptable?

Acceptable IDs include:

  • Valid VA Driver’s License or Identification Card
  • Valid VA DMV-issued Veteran’s ID card
  • Valid U.S. Passport
  • Other government-issued photo identification cards (issued by US Government or the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a political subdivision of the Commonwealth). This includes military IDs and nursing home resident ID cards (if issued by the government). This also includes a student photo ID issued by a Virginia public high school. This also includes tribal enrollment or other tribal ID (must be one of the following tribes: Cheroenhaka (Nottoway), Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Mattaponi, Monacan, Nansemond, Nottoway of Virginia, Pamunkey, Patawomeck, Rappahannock, & Upper Mattaponi)
  • Valid college or university student photo identification card from an institution of higher education located in Virginia
  • Valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer’s business
  • or a Virginia Voter Photo ID Card obtained through any local general registrar’s office.

A “valid” ID means that “the document is genuine, bears the photograph of the voter, and is not expired for more than 12 months."

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-643 [link]

http://elections.virginia.gov/registration/photo-ids-required-to-vote/index.html [link]

http://elections.virginia.gov/Files/CastYourBallot/VotingInPerson/VoterIdentificationChart.pdf [link]

Is a student ID an acceptable form of identification?

Yes. Student IDs are acceptable if they were issued by any institution of higher education located in the Commonwealth of Virginia and include a photo. A student photo ID issued by a Virginia public high school is also acceptable.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-643 [link]

http://elections.virginia.gov/registration/photo-ids-required-to-vote/index.html [link]

http://elections.virginia.gov/Files/CastYourBallot/VotingInPerson/VoterIdentificationChart.pdf [link]

Does the address on the ID have to match the address at which the voter is registered?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-643 [link]

If a voter has no ID, are there alternatives such as an oath or witness?

No. A voter who does not have acceptable ID must cast a provisional ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-643 [link]

Do elections without federal offices on the ballot (such as off-year gubernatorial elections) have different ID requirements?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-643 [link]

Challenges to Voters at the Polling Place

Who can challenge a voter at the polling place?

Any qualified voter, including a poll watcher or an election officer.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-651 [link]

What are the allowed reasons on which a voter can be challenged at the polling place?

The following are the reasons for which a voter may be challenged:

  • Citizenship
  • The voter is not 18 or will not be 18 by the general election, in the case of a primary or special election
  • Residency (either of the Commonwealth or this precinct)
  • The voter has been disqualified from voting
  • The person trying to vote is not the registered voter
  • The person has already voted in that election
Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-651 [link]

Is there a requirement for the challenger to provide cause or evidence?

No, except the challenger must sign a statement setting forth the basis for the challenge (i.e., person is not a citizen, person is not a resident).

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-651 [link]

How does a voter defend their eligibility to vote if they are challenged?

Election officials must explain to the voter the qualifications for voting. The challenged voter may be questioned by the election officials and then will be offered a written statement attesting to their qualifications to vote. If the voter signs the statement, they must be allowed to vote a REGULAR ballot – except that if the voter is marked in the poll book as having already voted, they must vote provisionally. If the voter refuses to sign the statement, they will not be allowed to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-14)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-651 [link]

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-651.1 [link]

State and Local Election Officials

The State Election Authority

Who/what is the state election authority?

State Board of Elections and the Department of Elections

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-17)

http://elections.virginia.gov/media/state-board-of-elections/index.html [link]

Current official

Singleton B. McAllister (Secretary and full-time agency head)

James Alcorn (Chairman)

Clara Belle Wheeler (Vice-Chair)

Edgardo Cortes (Commissioner of the Department of Elections)

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-17)

http://elections.virginia.gov/contact-us/board-members/index.html [link]

http://elections.virginia.gov/contact-us/commissioner/edgardo-cortes.html [link]

E-mail

info@elections.virginia.gov

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-17)

http://elections.virginia.gov/contact-us/index.html [link]

Phone

(804) 864-8901

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-12)

http://elections.virginia.gov/contact-us/index.html [link]

Address

Washington Building, First Floor
1100 Bank Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-17)

http://elections.virginia.gov/contact-us/index.html [link]

Local Election Authorities

What local election official(s) are in charge of major state-level elections (such as the even-year November general elections)?

Local electoral boards. Virginia has counties and independent cities that are considered as the same on a government level, so it could be a city electoral board or a county electoral board.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-17)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-106 [link]

What is the county-level election official?

Local electoral boards. Virginia has counties and independent cities that are considered as the same on a government level, so it could be a city electoral board or a county electoral board.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-08-17)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-106 [link]

What is the municipal-level election official?

N/A - Virginia's independent cities have the same status as counties.

Source (confirmed on: 2014-08-10)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-106 [link]

Contact information for local election authorities

https://voterinfo.sbe.virginia.gov/PublicSite/Public/FT2/PublicContactLookup.aspx

Source (confirmed on: 2015-8-17)

https://voterinfo.sbe.virginia.gov/PublicSite/Public/FT2/PublicContactLookup.aspx [link]

The Voter File

Voter File Basics

National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) Disclosure Law

Section 8 of the federal NVRA requires that each State maintain for at least 2 years and make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters, except to the extent that such records contain information about a person declining to register to vote or information about the identity of a voter registration agency through which a particular voter might have chosen to register.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-09-03)

52 U.S.C. § 20507 [link]

Acquiring a Voter File

Under state procedure, who may acquire a voter file?

Voter files are open to public inspection in the general registrar’s office. However, under state law, only the following persons and groups may acquire a copy of the voter file:

  • Courts of the Commonwealth and the United States for jury selection purposes,
  • Candidates for election or political party nomination to further their candidacy,
  • Political party committees or officials thereof for political purposes only,
  • Political action committees that have filed a current statement of organization with the Department of Elections, or with the Federal Elections Commission pursuant to federal law, for political purposes only,
  • Incumbent officeholders to report to their constituents,
  • Nonprofit organizations that promote voter participation and registration for that purpose only,
  • Commissioners of the revenue and treasurers for tax assessment, collection, and enforcement purposes.
Source (confirmed on: 2015-09-03)

Va. Code § 24.2-444 [link]

Va. Code § 24.2-405 [link]

Client Services, Va. Dep’t of Elections [link]

Who is the state-level contact for acquiring a voter file?

Vanessa Archie, Election Services

E-mail: Vanessa.Archie@elections.virginia.gov

Phone: (804) 864-8908

Source (confirmed on: 2015-09-03)

Client Services, Va. Dep’t of Elections [link]

What format is the file available in?

All data is provided in a comma delimited text file.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-09-03)

Client Services, Va. Dep’t of Elections [link]

Use of the Voter File

Does the state have restrictions on commercial use of the voter file?

Under state law, the voter file may be used only by the following persons and groups for the following purposes:

Voter files are open to public inspection in the general registrar’s office. However, under state law, only the following persons and groups may acquire a copy of the voter file:

  • Courts of the Commonwealth and the United States for jury selection purposes,
  • Candidates for election or political party nomination to further their candidacy,
  • Political party committees or officials thereof for political purposes only,
  • Political action committees that have filed a current statement of organization with the Department of Elections, or with the Federal Elections Commission pursuant to federal law, for political purposes only,
  • Incumbent officeholders to report to their constituents,
  • Nonprofit organizations that promote voter participation and registration for that purpose only,
  • Commissioners of the revenue and treasurers for tax assessment, collection, and enforcement purposes.
Source (confirmed on: 2015-09-03)

Va. Code § 24.2-444 [link]

Va. Code § 24.2-405 [link]

Client Services, Va. Dep’t of Elections [link]

Does the state have restrictions on non-commercial use of the voter file?

Yes, see above.

Source (confirmed on: 2015-09-03)

Va. Code § 24.2-444 [link]

Va. Code § 24.2-405 [link]

Client Services, Va. Dep’t of Elections [link]