Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 24.2. Elections
Chapter 5. Candidates for Office

§ 24.2-543. How other groups may submit names of electors; oaths of electors.

A. A group of qualified voters, not constituting a political party as defined in § 24.2-101, may have the names of electors selected by them, including one elector residing in each congressional district and two from the Commonwealth at large, printed upon the official ballot to be used in the election of electors for President and Vice President by filing a petition pursuant to this section. The petition shall be filed with the State Board by noon of the seventy-fourth day before the presidential election. The petition shall be signed by at least 5,000 qualified voters and include signatures of at least 200 qualified voters from each congressional district. The petition shall be signed by petitioners on and after January 1 of the year of the presidential election only and contain the residence address of each petitioner. The signature of each petitioner shall be witnessed either by a person who is a constitutionally qualified candidate for President of the United States, who may witness his own petition, or by a person who is not a minor or a felon whose voting rights have not been restored and whose affidavit to that effect appears on each page of the petition. Each such person circulating a petition who is not a legal resident of the Commonwealth shall sign a statement on the affidavit that he consents to the jurisdiction of the courts of Virginia in resolving any disputes concerning the circulation of petitions, or signatures contained therein, by that person. The signatures of qualified voters collected by a nonresident petition circulator who fails to sign such statement, or who later fails to appear or produce documents when properly served with a subpoena to do so, shall not be counted towards the minimum number of signatures required pursuant to this subsection.

The petition shall state the names of the electors selected by the petitioners, the party name under which they desire the named electors to be listed on the ballot, and the names of the candidates for President and Vice President for whom the electors are required to vote in the Electoral College. The persons filing the petition shall file with it a copy of a subscribed and notarized oath by each elector stating that he will, if elected, cast his ballot for the candidates for President and Vice President named in the petition, or as the party may direct in the event of death, withdrawal or disqualification of the party nominee. In order to utilize a selected party name on the ballot, the petitioners shall have had a state central committee composed of registered voters from each congressional district of the Commonwealth, a party plan and bylaws, and a duly designated chairman and secretary in existence and holding office for at least six months prior to filing the petition. The State Board may require proof that the petitioners meet these requirements before permitting use of a party name on the ballot. The party name shall not be identical with or substantially similar to the name of any political party qualifying under § 24.2-101 and then in existence.

In the event of the death or withdrawal of a candidate for President or Vice President qualified to appear on the ballot by party name, that party may substitute the name of a different candidate before the State Board certifies to the county and city electoral boards the form of the official ballots.

In the event that a group of qualified voters meets the requirements set forth in this section except that they cannot utilize a party name, the electors selected and the candidates for President and Vice President shall be identified and designated as "Independent" on the ballot. Substitution of a different candidate for Vice President may be made by the candidate for President before the State Board certifies to the county and city electoral boards the form of the official ballot.

In the event of the death or disqualification of any person listed as an elector for candidates for President and Vice President on a petition filed pursuant to this section, the party or candidate for President, as applicable, may substitute the name of a different elector. Such substitution shall not invalidate any petition of qualified voters circulated with the name of the deceased or disqualified elector provided that notice of the substitution is filed with the State Board by noon of the seventy-fourth day before the presidential election. Notice of the substitution and the name of any substitute elector shall be submitted on a form prepared by the State Board.

B. If the State Board determines that a candidate for President does not qualify to have his name appear on the ballot pursuant to this section by reason of the candidate's filed petition not containing the minimum number of signatures of qualified voters for the office sought, the candidate may appeal the determination to the State Board within seven calendar days of the issuance of the notice of disqualification. The notice of disqualification shall be sent by email or regular mail to the address on file for the candidate, and such notice shall be deemed sufficient. The State Board shall hear the appeal within three business days of its filing.

The State Board shall develop procedures for the conduct of such an appeal. The consideration on appeal shall be limited to whether or not the signatures on the petitions that were filed were reasonably rejected according to the requirements of this title and the rules and procedures set forth by the State Board for checking petitions. Immediately after the conclusion of the appeal hearing, the State Board shall notify the candidate of its decision in writing. The decision on appeal shall be final and not subject to further appeal.

Code 1950, § 24-290.3; 1952, c. 330; 1964, c. 542; 1968, c. 284; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-159; 1982, c. 650; 1984, c. 480; 1993, c. 641; 1994, c. 149; 1998, cc. 152, 246; 2000, cc. 232, 252; 2001, c. 630; 2003, c. 477; 2012, cc. 166, 538; 2013, cc. 521, 550, 684; 2020, c. 501.

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.