Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
4/26/2017

Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act

§ 24.2-451. Short title.

This chapter may be cited as the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act.

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-452. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

1. "Covered voter" means:

a. A uniformed-service voter or an overseas voter who is registered to vote in this state;

b. A uniformed-service voter defined in subdivision 9 a whose voting residence is in this state and who otherwise satisfies this state's voter eligibility requirements, including subdivision 2 of § 24.2-700;

c. An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, was last eligible to vote in this state and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state's voter eligibility requirements;

d. An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, would have been last eligible to vote in this state had the voter then been of voting age and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state's voter eligibility requirements; or

e. An overseas voter who was born outside the United States, is not described in subdivision c or d, and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state's voter eligibility requirements, if:

(1) The last place where a parent or legal guardian of the voter was, or under this chapter would have been, eligible to vote before leaving the United States is within this state; and

(2) The voter has not previously registered to vote in any other state.

2. "Dependent" means an individual recognized as a dependent by a uniformed service.

3. "Federal postcard application" means the application prescribed under § 101(b)(2) of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 52 U.S.C. § 20301(b)(2).

4. "Federal write-in absentee ballot" means the ballot described in § 103 of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 52 U.S.C. § 20303, that may be used in all elections in which the voter is eligible to vote as provided in § 24.2-702.1.

5. "Military-overseas ballot" means:

a. A federal write-in absentee ballot;

b. A ballot specifically prepared or distributed for use by a covered voter in accordance with this title; or

c. A ballot cast by a covered voter in accordance with this title.

6. "Overseas voter" means a United States citizen who is outside the United States.

7. "State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

8. "Uniformed service" means:

a. Active and reserve components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard of the United States;

b. 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

c. The Virginia National Guard.

9. "Uniformed-service voter" means an individual who is qualified to vote and is:

a. 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;

b. 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;

c. A member on activated status of the National Guard; or

d. A spouse or dependent of a member referred to in this definition.

10. "United States," used in the territorial sense, means the several states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

2012, c. 353; 2015, c. 313.

§ 24.2-453. Restriction of ballot eligibility.

To be eligible to vote in state and local elections, the application of an overseas voter who has given up his place of abode in Virginia must show that the applicant is employed overseas or the spouse or dependent of a person employed overseas.

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-454. Elections covered.

The voting procedures in this chapter apply to:

1. A general, special, or primary election for federal office;

2. A general, special, or primary election for statewide or state legislative office or state referendum measure; and

3. A general, special, or primary election for local constitutional or government office or local referendum measure conducted under Chapter 6 (§ 24.2-600 et seq.) for which absentee voting is available for other voters.

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-455. Role of Commissioner of Elections.

A. The Commissioner of Elections is the state official responsible for implementing this chapter and Virginia's responsibilities under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 52 U.S.C. § 20301 et seq.

B. The Commissioner shall make available to covered voters information regarding voter registration procedures for covered voters and procedures for casting military-overseas ballots. The Commissioner may delegate the responsibility under this subsection only to the state office designated in compliance with § 102(b)(1) of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 52 U.S.C. § 20302(b)(1).

C. The Commissioner shall coordinate with local electoral boards to establish an appropriate system through which a covered voter may apply for and receive voter registration materials, military-overseas ballots, and other information under this chapter.

D. The Commissioner shall:

1. Develop standardized absentee-voting materials, including privacy and transmission envelopes, authentication materials, and voting instructions to be used with the military-overseas ballot of a voter authorized to vote in any jurisdiction in this state; and

2. To the extent reasonably possible, coordinate with other states to carry out this subsection.

E. The Commissioner shall prescribe the form and content of a declaration for use by a covered voter to swear or affirm specific representations pertaining to the voter's identity, eligibility to vote, status as a covered voter, and timely and proper completion of an overseas-military ballot. The declaration must be based on the declaration prescribed to accompany a federal write-in absentee ballot, as modified to be consistent with this chapter. The Commissioner shall ensure that a form for the execution of the declaration, including an indication of the date of execution of the declaration, is a prominent part of all balloting materials for which the declaration is required.

2012, c. 353; 2013, c. 542.

§ 24.2-456. Overseas voter's registration address.

In registering to vote, an overseas voter who is eligible to vote in this state shall use and must be assigned to the voting precinct of the address of the last place of residence of the voter in this state or, in the case of a voter described by subdivision 1 e of § 24.2-452, the address of the last place of residence in this state of the parent or legal guardian of the voter. If that address is no longer a recognized residential address, the voter must be assigned an address for voting purposes.

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-457. Methods of registering to vote.

A. To apply to register to vote, in addition to any other approved method, a covered voter may use a federal postcard application.

B. A covered voter may use the declaration accompanying a federal write-in absentee ballot to apply to register to vote simultaneously with the submission of the federal write-in absentee ballot, if the declaration is received by the applicable deadline for registration. If the declaration is received after that date, it must be treated as an application to register to vote for subsequent elections.

C. The electoral board shall ensure that the system described in subsection C of § 24.2-455 is capable of accepting both a federal postcard application and any other approved registration application sent to the appropriate election official. The voter may use the system or any other approved method to register to vote.

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-458. Methods of applying for military-overseas ballot.

A. A covered voter who is registered to vote in this state may apply for a military-overseas ballot using either the regular absentee ballot application in use in the voter's jurisdiction under Chapter 7 (§ 24.2-700 et seq.) or the federal postcard application.

B. A covered voter who is not registered to vote in this state may use a federal postcard application to apply simultaneously to register to vote under § 24.2-457 and for a military-overseas ballot.

C. The electoral board shall ensure that the system described in subsection C of § 24.2-455 is capable of accepting the submission of both a federal postcard application and any other approved military-overseas ballot application sent to the appropriate election official. The voter may use the system or any other approved method to apply for a military-overseas ballot.

D. A covered voter may use the declaration accompanying a federal write-in absentee ballot as an application for a military-overseas ballot simultaneously with the submission of the federal write-in absentee ballot.

E. To receive the benefits of this chapter, a covered voter must inform the appropriate election official that the voter is a covered voter. Methods of informing the appropriate election official that a voter is a covered voter include:

1. The use of a federal postcard application or federal write-in absentee ballot;

2. The use of an overseas address on an approved voter registration application or ballot application; and

3. The inclusion on an approved voter registration application or ballot application of other information sufficient to identify the voter as a covered voter.

F. This chapter does not preclude a covered voter from voting under Chapter 7 (§ 24.2-700 et seq.).

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-459. Timeliness and scope of application for military-overseas ballot.

An application for a military-overseas ballot is timely if received by the seventh day before the election or the last day for other voters in this state to apply for an absentee ballot for that election. An application for a military-overseas ballot for a primary election, whether or not timely, is effective as an application for a military-overseas ballot for the general election.

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-460. Transmission of unvoted ballots.

A. For an election described in § 24.2-454 for which this state has not received a waiver pursuant to § 579 of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, 52 U.S.C. § 20302(g)(2), not later than 45 days before the election, the election official in each jurisdiction charged with distributing a ballot and balloting materials shall transmit a ballot and balloting materials to all covered voters who by that date submit a valid military-overseas ballot application.

B. A covered voter may request that a ballot and balloting materials be sent to the voter as authorized in § 24.2-706.

C. If a ballot application from a covered voter arrives after the jurisdiction begins transmitting ballots and balloting materials to voters, the official charged with distributing a ballot and balloting materials shall transmit them to the voter not later than three business days after the application arrives.

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-461. Federal write-in absentee ballot.

A covered voter may use a federal write-in absentee ballot to vote for all offices and ballot measures in an election described in § 24.2-454.

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-462. Receipt of voted ballot.

A valid military-overseas ballot must be counted if it is delivered to the address that the appropriate state or local election office has specified by the close of the polls on the date of the election except as provided in § 24.2-709.

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-463. Declaration.

A military-overseas ballot must include or be accompanied by a declaration signed by the voter that a material misstatement of fact in completing the ballot may be grounds for a conviction of perjury under the laws of the United States or this state.

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-464. Confirmation of receipt of application and voted ballot.

The Commissioner, in coordination with local election officials, shall implement a free-access system by which a covered voter may determine whether:

1. The voter's federal postcard application or other registration or military-overseas ballot application has been received and accepted; and

2. The voter's military-overseas ballot has been received and the current status of the ballot.

2012, c. 353; 2013, c. 542.

§ 24.2-465. Publication of election notice.

At least 100 days before a regularly scheduled election and as soon as practicable before an election not regularly scheduled, the Department of Elections shall make election information available for each jurisdiction, to be used in conjunction with a federal write-in absentee ballot. The election notice must contain a list of all of the ballot measures and federal, state, and local offices that as of that date are expected to be on the ballot on the date of the election. The notice also must contain, or enable access to, specific instructions for how a voter is to indicate on the federal write-in absentee ballot the voter's choice for each office to be filled and for each ballot measure to be contested. Specific instructions may include a website address or a telephone number.

2012, c. 353; 2015, c. 313.

§ 24.2-466. Sending and updating notices.

A. A covered voter may request and upon such request the Department of Elections shall provide a copy of an election notice without cost to the voter. The Department of Elections shall send the notice to the voter using the method requested and to the address provided by the voter.

B. As soon as ballot styles are verified pursuant to § 24.2-612 and not later than the date ballots are required to be transmitted to voters under §§ 24.2-460 and 24.2-612, the Department of Elections shall update the notice with the certified candidates for each office and ballot measure questions and make the updated notice publicly available.

C. A local election jurisdiction that maintains a website shall make the election notice prepared under § 24.2-465 and updated versions of the election notice regularly available on the website.

2012, c. 353; 2015, c. 313.

§ 24.2-467. Prohibition of nonsubstantive requirements.

A. If a voter's mistake or omission in the completion of a document under this chapter does not prevent determining whether a covered voter is eligible to vote, the mistake or omission does not invalidate the document. Failure to satisfy a nonsubstantive requirement, such as using paper or envelopes of a specified size or weight, does not invalidate a document submitted under this chapter. In a federal write-in absentee ballot authorized by this chapter, if the intention of the voter is discernible under this state's uniform definition of what constitutes a vote, an abbreviation, misspelling, or other minor variation in the form of the name of a candidate or a political party must be accepted as a valid vote.

B. Notarization is not required for the execution of a document under this chapter. An authentication, other than the declaration specified in § 24.2-463 or the declaration on the federal postcard application and federal write-in absentee ballot, is not required for execution of a document under this chapter. The declaration and any information in the declaration may be compared with information on file to ascertain the validity of the document.

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-468. Equitable relief.

A court may issue an injunction or grant other equitable relief appropriate to ensure substantial compliance with, or enforce, this chapter on application by:

1. A covered voter alleging a grievance under this chapter; or

2. An election official in this state.

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-469. Uniformity of application and constructions.

In applying and construing this uniform act, consideration shall be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among states that enact it.

2012, c. 353.

§ 24.2-470. Relation to Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.

This chapter modifies, limits, and supersedes the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, 15 U.S.C. § 7001 et seq., but does not modify, limit, or supersede § 101(c) of that act, 15 U.S.C. § 7001(c), or authorize electronic delivery of any of the notices described in § 103(b) of that act, 15 U.S.C. § 7003 (b).

2012, c. 353.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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