Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 59.1. Trade and Commerce
Chapter 29. Horse Racing and Pari-Mutuel Wagering
5/6/2021

§ 59.1-391. Local referendum required.

The Commission shall not grant any initial license to construct, establish, operate or own a racetrack or satellite facility until a referendum approving the question is held in each county, city, or town in which such track or satellite facility is to be located, in the following manner:

1. A petition, signed by five percent of the qualified voters of such county, city, or town shall be filed with the circuit court of such county, city, or town asking that a referendum be held on the question, "Shall pari-mutuel wagering be permitted at a licensed racetrack in (name of such county, city, or town) on live horse racing at, and on simulcast horse racing transmitted from another jurisdiction to, the licensed racetrack on such days as may be approved by the Virginia Racing Commission in accordance with Chapter 29 (§ 59.1-364 et seq.) of Title 59.1 of the Code of Virginia?" In addition, or in the alternative, such petition may ask that a referendum be held on the question, "Shall pari-mutuel wagering be permitted in _______________ (the name of such county, city, or town) at satellite facilities in accordance with Chapter 29 (§ 59.1-364 et seq.) of Title 59.1 of the Code of Virginia?"

2. Following the filing of such petition, the court shall, by order of record entered in accordance with § 24.2-684.1, require the regular election officers of such city, county, or town to cause a special election to be held to take the sense of the qualified voters on the question. Such election shall be on a day designated by order of such court, but shall not be later than the next general election unless such general election is within 60 days of the date of the entry of such order, nor shall it be held on a date designated as a primary election.

3. The clerk of such court of record of such city, county, or town shall publish notice of such election in a newspaper of general circulation in such city, county, or town once a week for three consecutive weeks prior to such election.

4. The regular election officers of such city or county shall open the polls at the various voting places in such city or county on the date specified in such order and conduct such election in the manner provided by law. The election shall be by ballot which shall be prepared by the electoral board of the city, county, or town and on which shall be printed either or both of the following questions:

"Shall pari-mutuel wagering be permitted at a licensed racetrack in _______________ on live horse racing at, and on simulcast horse racing transmitted from another jurisdiction to, the licensed racetrack on such days as may be approved by the Virginia Racing Commission in accordance with Chapter 29 (§ 59.1-364 et seq.) of Title 59.1 of the Code of Virginia?

[ ] Yes

[ ] No"

"Shall pari-mutuel wagering be permitted in _______________ at satellite facilities in accordance with Chapter 29 (§ 59.1-364 et seq.) of Title 59.1 of the Code of Virginia?

[ ] Yes

[ ] No"

In the blank shall be inserted the name of the city, county, or town in which such election is held. Any voter desiring to vote "Yes" shall mark a check (✓) mark or a cross (✗ or +) mark or a line (-) in the square provided for such purpose immediately preceding the word "Yes," leaving the square immediately preceding the word "No" unmarked. Any voter desiring to vote "No" shall mark a check (✓) mark or a cross (✗ or +) mark or a line (-) in the square provided for such purpose immediately preceding the word "No," leaving the square immediately preceding the word "Yes" unmarked.

The ballots shall be counted, returns made and canvassed as in other elections, and the results certified by the electoral board to the court ordering such election. Thereupon, such court shall enter an order proclaiming the results of such election and a duly certified copy of such order shall be transmitted to the Commission and to the governing body of such city, county, or town.

No such referendum as described above shall be held more often than every three years in the same county, city, or town.

A subsequent local referendum shall be required if a license has not been granted by the Commission within five years of the court order proclaiming the results of the election. Town, for purposes of this section, means any town with a population of 5,000 or more.

1988, c. 855; 1989, c. 145; 1991, c. 591; 1992, c. 820; 1998, c. 619; 2001, c. 539; 2003, c. 682.

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.