Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 24.2. Elections
Chapter 3. Election Districts, Precincts, and Polling Places
10/26/2021

Article 3. Requirements for Election Districts, Precincts, and Polling Places.

§ 24.2-305. Composition of election districts and precincts.

A. Each election district and precinct shall be composed of compact and contiguous territory and shall have clearly defined and clearly observable boundaries.

B. A "clearly observable boundary" shall include (i) any named road or street, (ii) any road or highway which is a part of the federal, primary, or secondary state highway system, (iii) any river, stream, or drainage feature shown as a polygon boundary on the TIGER/line files of the United States Bureau of the Census, or (iv) any other natural or constructed or erected permanent physical feature which is shown on an official map issued by the Virginia Department of Transportation, on a United States Geological Survey topographical map, or as a polygon boundary on the TIGER/line files of the United States Bureau of the Census. No property line or subdivision boundary shall be deemed to be a clearly observable boundary unless it is marked by a permanent physical feature that is shown on an official map issued by the Virginia Department of Transportation, on a United States Geological Survey topographical map, or as a polygon boundary on the TIGER/line files of the United States Bureau of the Census.

1986, c. 593, § 24.1-40.7; 1990, c. 500; 1992, c. 425; 1993, c. 641; 2001, c. 614.

§ 24.2-306. Changes not to be enacted within 60 days of general election; notice requirements.

A. No change in any local election district, precinct, or polling place shall be enacted within 60 days next preceding any general election. In addition to the requirements set forth in § 24.2-129, notice shall be published prior to enactment in a newspaper having general circulation in the election district or precinct once a week for two successive weeks. The published notice shall state where descriptions and maps of proposed boundary and polling place changes may be inspected.

B. Notice of any adopted change in any election district, town, precinct, or polling place other than in the location of the office of the general registrar shall be mailed to all registered voters whose election district, town, precinct, or polling place is changed at least 15 days prior to the next general, special, or primary election in which the voters will be voting in the changed election district, town, precinct, or polling place. Notice of a change in the location of the office of the general registrar shall be given by posting on the official website of the county or city, by posting at not less than 10 public places, or by publication once in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or city within not more than 21 days in advance of the change or within seven days following the change.

C. Each county, city, and town shall comply with the applicable requirements of law, including §§ 24.2-304.3 and 30-395, and send copies of enacted changes, including a Geographic Information System (GIS) map showing the new boundaries of the districts or precincts, to the local electoral board, the Department, and the Division of Legislative Services. Any county, city, or town that does not have GIS capabilities may request the Department of Elections to create on its behalf a GIS map showing the boundaries of the new districts or precincts, and the Department of Elections shall create such a map.

Code 1950, §§ 24-49 through 24-51; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-39; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 119; 1993, c. 641; 1995, c. 249; 2003, c. 1015; 2004, c. 1000; 2012, cc. 328, 486; 2019, cc. 777, 778; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, c. 56; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 528, 533.

§ 24.2-307. Requirements for county and city precincts.

The governing body of each county and city shall establish by ordinance as many precincts as it deems necessary. Each governing body is authorized to increase or decrease the number of precincts and alter precinct boundaries subject to the requirements of this chapter.

At the time any precinct is established, it shall have no more than 5,000 registered voters. The general registrar shall notify the governing body whenever the number of voters who voted in a precinct in an election for President of the United States exceeds 4,000. Within six months of receiving the notice, the governing body shall proceed to revise the precinct boundaries, and any newly established or redrawn precinct shall have no more than 5,000 registered voters.

At the time any precinct is established, each precinct in a county shall have no fewer than 100 registered voters and each precinct in a city shall have no fewer than 500 registered voters.

Each precinct shall be wholly contained within a single congressional district, Senate district, House of Delegates district, and election district used for the election of one or more members of the governing body or school board for the county or city. In each year ending in one, the governing body of each county and city shall establish the precinct boundaries to be consistent with any congressional district, Senate district, House of Delegates district, and local election district that was adopted by the appropriate authority by June 15 of that year. If congressional districts, Senate districts, House of Delegates districts, or local election districts have not been adopted by the appropriate authority by June 15 of a year ending in one, the governing body may use the congressional districts, Senate districts, House of Delegates districts, or local election districts as such districts existed on June 15 of that year as the basis for establishing the precinct boundaries to be used for the elections to be held in November of that year. Such governing body shall establish precinct boundaries to be consistent with any subsequent changes to the congressional districts, Senate districts, House of Delegates districts, or local election districts. If a governing body is unable to establish a precinct with the minimum number of registered voters without splitting the precinct between two or more congressional districts, Senate districts, House of Delegates districts, or local election districts, it shall apply to the State Board for a waiver to administer a split precinct. The State Board may grant the waiver or direct the governing body to establish a precinct with fewer than the minimum number of registered voters as permitted by § 24.2-309. A governing body granted a waiver to administer a split precinct or directed to establish a precinct with fewer than the minimum number of registered voters may use such a precinct for any election held that year.

The governing body shall establish by ordinance one polling place for each precinct.

Code 1950, §§ 24-45, 24-46; 1954, c. 375; 1956, c. 378; 1962, cc. 185, 536; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-36, 24.1-37; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 119; 1976, c. 616; 1977, c. 30; 1978, c. 778; 1980, c. 639; 1992, c. 445; 1993, c. 641; 1999, c. 515; 2020, c. 1268.

§ 24.2-308. Requirements for town precincts.

There shall be one precinct for each town unless the council by ordinance establishes more than one precinct.

Each town precinct shall be wholly contained within any election district used for the election of one or more council or school board members.

The council shall establish by ordinance one polling place for each precinct.

Code 1950, § 24-171; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-92; 1978, c. 778; 1980, c. 639; 1981, c. 425; 1992, c. 445; 1993, c. 641.

§ 24.2-309. Establishment of precinct with less than minimum number of voters; conduct of elections where all voters do not have same choice of candidates.

A precinct may be established with fewer than the minimum number of registered voters required by this article if a larger precinct cannot be established in which all persons are voting at any general election for the same candidates for the governing body and school board of the county or city, House of Delegates, state Senate, and United States House of Representatives. The governing body may select a polling place within one mile of the boundaries of that precinct if a suitable polling place is not available within that precinct.

The State Board shall make regulations setting procedures by which elections may be conducted in precincts in which all voters do not have the same choice of candidates at a general election.

1971, Ex. Sess., c. 264, § 24.1-40; 1993, c. 641.

§ 24.2-309.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2001, c. 614.

§ 24.2-309.2. Election precincts; prohibiting precinct changes for specified period of time.

No county, city, or town shall create, divide, abolish, or consolidate any precincts, or otherwise change the boundaries of any precinct, effective during the period from February 1, 2019, to May 15, 2021, except as (i) provided by law upon a change in the boundaries of the county, city, or town, (ii) the result of a court order, (iii) the result of a change in the form of government, or (iv) the result of an increase or decrease in the number of local election districts other than at-large districts. Any ordinance required to comply with the requirements of § 24.2-307 shall be adopted on or before February 1, 2019.

If a change in the boundaries of a precinct is required pursuant to clause (i), (ii), (iii), or (iv), the county, city, or town shall comply with the applicable requirements of law, including §§ 24.2-304.3 and 30-395, and send copies of the ordered or enacted changes to the State Board of Elections and the Division of Legislative Services.

This section shall not prohibit any county, city, or town from adopting an ordinance revising precinct boundaries after January 1, 2021. However, no revisions in precinct boundaries shall be implemented in the conduct of elections prior to May 15, 2021.

2008, c. 112; 2018, cc. 778, 779; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, c. 56.

§ 24.2-310. Requirements for polling places.

A. The polling place for each precinct shall be located within the county or city and either within the precinct or within one mile of the precinct boundary. The polling place for a county precinct may be located within a city (i) if the city is wholly contained within the county election district served by the precinct or (ii) if the city is wholly contained within the county and the polling place is located on property owned by the county. The polling place for a town precinct may be located within one mile of the precinct and town boundary. For town elections held in November, the town shall use the polling places established by the county for its elections.

B. The governing body of each county, city, and town shall provide funds to enable the general registrar to provide adequate facilities at each polling place for the conduct of elections. Each polling place shall be located in a public building whenever practicable. If more than one polling place is located in the same building, each polling place shall be located in a separate room or separate and defined space.

C. Polling places shall be accessible to qualified voters as required by the provisions of the Virginians with Disabilities Act (§ 51.5-1 et seq.), the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act (52 U.S.C. § 20101 et seq.), and the Americans with Disabilities Act relating to public services (42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq.). The State Board shall provide instructions to the local electoral boards and general registrars to assist the localities in complying with the requirements of the Acts.

D. If an emergency makes a polling place unusable or inaccessible, the electoral board or the general registrar shall provide an alternative polling place and give notice of the change in polling place, including to all candidates, or such candidate's campaign, appearing on the ballot to be voted at the alternative polling place, subject to the prior approval of the State Board. The general registrar shall provide notice to the voters appropriate to the circumstances of the emergency. For the purposes of this subsection, an "emergency" means a rare and unforeseen combination of circumstances, or the resulting state, that calls for immediate action.

E. It shall be permissible to distribute campaign materials on the election day on the property on which a polling place is located and outside of the building containing the room where the election is conducted except as specifically prohibited by law including, without limitation, the prohibitions of § 24.2-604 and the establishment of the "Prohibited Area" within 40 feet of any entrance to the polling place. However, and notwithstanding the provisions of clause (i) of subsection A of § 24.2-604, and upon the approval of the local electoral board, campaign materials may be distributed outside the polling place and inside the structure where the election is conducted, provided that the "Prohibited Area" (i) includes the area within the structure that is beyond 40 feet of any entrance to the polling place and the area within the structure that is within 40 feet of any entrance to the room where the election is conducted and (ii) is maintained and enforced as provided in § 24.2-604. The local electoral board may approve campaigning activities inside the building where the election is conducted when an entrance to the building is from an adjoining building, or if establishing the 40-foot prohibited area outside the polling place would hinder or delay a qualified voter from entering or leaving the building.

F. Any local government, local electoral board, or the State Board may make monetary grants to any non-governmental entity furnishing facilities under the provisions of § 24.2-307 or 24.2-308 for use as a polling place. Such grants shall be made for the sole purpose of meeting the accessibility requirements of this section. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to obligate any local government, local electoral board, or the State Board to appropriate funds to any non-governmental entity.

Code 1950, §§ 24-45, 24-46, 24-171, 24-179 through 24-181; 1954, c. 375; 1956, c. 378; 1962, cc. 185, 536; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-36, 24.1-37, 24.1-92, 24.1-97; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 119; 1976, c. 616; 1977, c. 30; 1978, c. 778; 1980, c. 639; 1981, c. 425; 1984, c. 217; 1985, c. 197; 1986, c. 558; 1992, c. 445; 1993, cc. 546, 641; 1994, c. 307; 2003, c. 1015; 2004, c. 25; 2005, c. 340; 2008, cc. 113, 394; 2010, cc. 639, 707; 2012, cc. 488, 759; 2016, cc. 18, 492.

§ 24.2-310.1. Polling places; additional requirement.

The requirement stated in this section shall be in addition to requirements stated in §§ 24.2-307, 24.2-308, and 24.2-310, including the requirement that polling places be located in public buildings whenever practical. No polling place shall be located in a building which serves primarily as the headquarters, office, or assembly building for any private organization, other than an organization of a civic, educational, religious, charitable, historical, patriotic, cultural, or similar nature, unless the State Board has approved the use of the building because no other building meeting the accessibility requirements of this title is available.

1993, c. 904, § 24.1-37.1; 1993, c. 641.