Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 24.2. Elections
Chapter 2. Federal, Commonwealth, and Local Officers

§ 24.2-235. Procedure.

A. A petition for the removal of an officer shall be on a form prescribed by the State Board of Elections and shall state with reasonable accuracy and detail the grounds or reasons for removal and shall be signed by the person or persons making it under penalties of perjury. The petition shall be filed together with either (i) three paper copies or (ii) an electronic copy. The clerk shall promptly provide a paper or electronic copy of the petition to the officer who is the subject of the removal petition, the attorney for the Commonwealth, and, for a removal petition filed pursuant to § 24.2-233, the general registrar. If the subject of the petition is the attorney for the Commonwealth, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia shall appoint an alternate attorney for the Commonwealth to receive the copy of the petition.

B. The general registrar shall review a petition filed pursuant to § 24.2-233 and determine its sufficiency in accordance with the uniform standards approved by the State Board of Elections. The general registrar shall certify the petition within 10 business days and promptly file such certification with the clerk of the circuit court. The general registrar may seek an extension of time from the circuit court for good cause shown. The certification shall state the number of signatures required, the number of signatures on the petition, and the number of valid signatures. The certification shall identify those signatures found to be invalid. The certification shall also identify any material omissions in the petition.

C. Upon receipt of the petition, the attorney for the Commonwealth shall promptly review the petition and determine if valid grounds exist to remove the officer pursuant to § 24.2-103, 24.2-109, or 24.2-233. Upon determining that valid grounds exist for removal, the attorney for the Commonwealth shall notify the circuit court. Otherwise, the attorney for the Commonwealth shall request that the court dismiss the petition.

D. As soon as the attorney for the Commonwealth notifies the circuit court that the petition presents valid grounds for removal, the court shall issue a rule requiring the officer to show cause why he should not be removed from office, the rule alleging in general terms the cause or causes for such removal. The rule shall be returnable in not less than five nor more than 10 days and shall be served upon the officer with a copy of the petition.

E. Upon return of the rule duly executed, unless good cause is shown for a continuance or postponement to a later day in the term, the case shall be tried on the day named in the rule and take precedence over all other cases on the docket. The circuit court shall not dismiss the petition solely because of an error or omission in the form of the petition relating to its statement of the grounds or reasons for removal if such error or omission is not material in determining whether the statement of the grounds or reasons for removal provides a reasonable basis under § 24.2-103, 24.2-109, or 24.2-233 to consider the removal of the officer. If upon trial it is determined by clear and convincing evidence that removal of the officer is warranted under § 24.2-103, 24.2-109, or 24.2-233, the officer shall be removed from office.

1975, cc. 515, 595, § 24.1-79.7; 1993, c. 641; 2009, cc. 868, 876; 2023, cc. 256, 257, 663, 664.

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