Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 24.2. Elections
Chapter 7. Absentee Voting

§ 24.2-706. Duty of general registrar on receipt of application; statement of voter.

A. On receipt of an application for an absentee ballot, the general registrar shall enroll the name and address of each registered applicant on an absentee voter applicant list that shall be maintained in the office of the general registrar with a file of the applications received. The list shall be available for inspection and copying and the applications shall be available for inspection only by any registered voter during regular office hours. Upon request and for a reasonable fee, the Department of Elections shall provide an electronic copy of the absentee voter applicant list to any political party or candidate. Such list shall be used only for campaign and political purposes. Any list made available for inspection and copying under this section shall contain the post office box address in lieu of the residence street address for any individual who has furnished at the time of registration or subsequently, in addition to his street address, a post office box address pursuant to subsection B of § 24.2-418.

No list or application containing an individual's social security number, or any part thereof, or the individual's day and month of birth, shall be made available for inspection or copying by anyone. The Department of Elections shall prescribe procedures for general registrars to make the information in the lists and applications available in a manner that does not reveal social security numbers or parts thereof, or an individual's day and month of birth.

B. The completion and timely delivery of an application for an absentee ballot shall be construed to be an offer by the applicant to vote in the election.

The general registrar shall note on each application received whether the applicant is or is not a registered voter. In reviewing the application for an absentee ballot, the general registrar shall not reject the application of any individual because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to the application, if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified to vote absentee.

C. If the application has been properly completed and signed and the applicant is a registered voter of the precinct in which he offers to vote, the general registrar shall, at the time when the printed ballots for the election are available, send by the deadline set out in § 24.2-612, obtaining a certificate or other evidence of either first-class or expedited mailing or delivery from the United States Postal Service or other commercial delivery provider, or deliver to him in person in the office of the registrar, the following items and nothing else:

1. An envelope containing the folded ballot, sealed and marked "Ballot within."

2. An envelope for resealing the marked ballot, on which envelope is printed the following:

"Statement of Voter."

"I do hereby state, subject to felony penalties for making false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, that my FULL NAME is (last, first, middle); that I am now or have been at some time since last November's general election a legal resident of (STATE YOUR LEGAL RESIDENCE IN VIRGINIA including the house number, street name or rural route address, city, zip code); that I received the enclosed ballot(s) upon application to the registrar of such county or city; that I opened the envelope marked 'ballot within' and marked the ballot(s), without assistance or knowledge on the part of anyone as to the manner in which I marked it (or I am returning the form required to report how I was assisted); that I then sealed the ballot(s) in this envelope; and that I have not voted and will not vote in this election at any other time or place.

Signature of Voter __________________________________

Last four digits of voter's social security number _______________

Voter's birth year _______________________

Date ________________"

For elections held after January 1, 2004, instead of the envelope containing the above oath, an envelope containing the standard oath prescribed by the presidential designee under § 101(b)(7) of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (52 U.S.C. § 20301 et seq.) shall be sent to voters who are qualified to vote absentee under that Act.

For purposes of properly completing this statement, the unique identifier assigned to the voter in the voter registration system pursuant to subdivision A 1 of § 24.2-404 shall be accepted in place of the last four digits of the voter's social security number for those voters whose registration includes a statement of affirmation that they have never been issued a social security number.

When this statement has been properly completed and signed by the registered voter, his ballot shall not be subject to challenge pursuant to § 24.2-651.

3. An envelope, properly addressed and postage prepaid, for the return of the ballot to the general registrar by mail or by the applicant in person, or to a drop-off location.

4. Printed instructions for completing the ballot and statement on the envelope and returning the ballot. Such instructions shall include information on the sites of all drop-off locations in the county or city. Whenever there is a proposed constitutional amendment or a statewide referendum to be voted on by the voters, these instructions shall also include the website address where the explanation of the proposed amendment prepared pursuant to § 30-19.9 or the information about the referendum prepared pursuant to § 30-19.10 is posted on the Department's website.

For federal elections held after January 1, 2004, for any voter who is required by subparagraph (b) of 52 U.S.C. § 21083 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to show identification the first time the voter votes in a federal election in the state, the printed instructions shall direct the voter to submit with his ballot (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. Such individual who desires to vote by mail but who does not submit one of the forms of identification specified in this paragraph may cast such ballot by mail and the ballot shall be counted as a provisional ballot under the provisions of § 24.2-653.01. The Department of Elections shall provide instructions to the electoral boards for the handling and counting of such provisional ballots pursuant to § 24.2-653.01 and this section.

5. For any voter entitled to vote absentee under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (52 U.S.C. § 20301 et seq.), information provided by the Department of Elections specific to the voting rights and responsibilities for such citizens, or information provided by the registrar specific to the status of the voter registration and absentee ballot application of such voter, may be included.

The envelopes and instructions shall be in the form prescribed by the Department of Elections.

D. The general registrar may contract with a third party for the printing, assembly, and mailing of the items set forth in subsection C. The general registrar shall provide to the contractor in a timely manner the names, addresses, precincts, and ballot styles of voters requesting an absentee ballot by mail. The vendor shall provide to the general registrar a report of the voters to whom the absentee ballot materials have been sent.

E. If the applicant completes his application in person under § 24.2-701 at a time when the printed ballots for the election are available, he may request that the general registrar send to him by mail the items set forth in subdivisions C 1 through 4, instead of casting the ballot in person. Such request shall be made no later than 5:00 p.m. on the eleventh day prior to the election in which the applicant offers to vote, and the general registrar shall send those items to the applicant by mail, obtaining a certificate or other evidence of mailing.

F. If the applicant is a covered voter, as defined in § 24.2-452, the general registrar, at the time when the printed ballots for the election are available, shall mail by the deadline set forth in § 24.2-612 or deliver in person to the applicant in the office of the general registrar the items as set forth in subdivisions C 1 through 4 and, if necessary, an application for registration. A certificate or other evidence of mailing shall not be required. If the applicant requests that such items be sent by electronic transmission, the general registrar, at the time when the printed ballots for the election are available but not later than the deadline set forth in § 24.2-612, shall send by electronic transmission the blank ballot, the form for the envelope for returning the marked ballot, and instructions to the voter. Such materials shall be sent using the official email address or fax number of the office of the general registrar published on the Department of Elections website. The State Board of Elections may prescribe by regulation the format of the email address used for transmitting ballots to eligible voters. A general registrar may also use electronic transmission facilities provided by the Federal Voting Assistance Program. The voted ballot shall be returned to the general registrar as otherwise required by this chapter.

G. The circuit courts shall have jurisdiction to issue an injunction to enforce the provisions of this section upon the application of (i) any aggrieved voter, (ii) any candidate in an election district in whole or in part in the court's jurisdiction where a violation of this section has occurred, or is likely to occur, or (iii) the campaign committee or the appropriate district political party chairman of such candidate. Any person who fails to discharge his duty as provided in this section through willful neglect of duty and with malicious intent shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor as provided in subsection A of § 24.2-1001.

Code 1950, §§ 24-327, 24-332, 24-333, 24-345.6, 24-345.7; 1952, c. 509; 1956, c. 525; 1958, c. 351; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-229; 1971, Ex. Sess., cc. 119, 247, 265; 1972, c. 620; 1974, c. 428; 1975, c. 515; 1977, c. 490; 1978, c. 778; 1980, c. 639; 1981, c. 425; 1983, c. 461; 1988, cc. 624, 691; 1993, c. 641; 1994, cc. 633, 656; 1996, c. 253; 2000, c. 421; 2001, cc. 621, 866; 2002, cc. 785, 819; 2003, cc. 247, 478; 2004, c. 410; 2006, c. 438; 2007, c. 318; 2008, cc. 106, 300, 379; 2009, cc. 345, 405, 873; 2010, cc. 213, 316, 449, 538, 645, 812; 2011, cc. 427, 458; 2012, c. 393; 2015, cc. 313, 644, 645; 2016, cc. 16, 463; 2019, cc. 668, 669; 2020, cc. 289, 735, 1149, 1151, 1201; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 246, 471, 522; 2022, c. 254; 2023, c. 785.

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.