Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 24.2. Elections
Chapter 4. Voter Registration
1/18/2021

Article 3.1. Mail Registration.

§ 24.2-416.1. Voter registration by mail.

A. A person may apply to register to vote by mail by completing and returning a mail voter registration application form in the manner and time provided by law.

B. Any person, who applies to register to vote by mail pursuant to this article and who has not previously voted in the county or city in which he registers to vote, shall be required to vote in person, either at the polls on election day or in-person absentee. However, this requirement to vote in person shall not apply to a person so long as he (i) is entitled to vote by absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (52 U.S.C. § 20302 et seq.); (ii) is provided the right to vote otherwise than in person under § 3(b)(2)(B)(ii) of the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act (52 U.S.C. § 20102(b)(2)(B)(ii)), including any disabled voter and any voter age 65 or older; (iii) is entitled to vote by absentee ballot by reason of his confinement while awaiting trial or for having been convicted of a misdemeanor; (iv) is entitled to vote otherwise than in person under other federal law; (v) is a full-time student in an institution of higher education; or (vi) requests to vote an absentee ballot by mail for presidential and vice-presidential elections only, for any reason, as entitled by federal law.

1996, cc. 72, 73; 2003, c. 1015; 2020, cc. 718, 1149, 1151, 1201.

§ 24.2-416.2. Mail voter registration application forms.

Notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 24.2-418 and 24.2-418.1, the national mail voter registration application form promulgated by the Election Assistance Commission pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act (52 U.S.C. § 20501 et seq.) shall be accepted for the registration of otherwise qualified voters to vote in federal, state, and local elections. In addition to the national form promulgated by the Election Assistance Commission, the State Board of Elections shall design and distribute a state mail voter registration application form. Such state form shall include the eligibility requirements for registration as provided in this title, shall provide for a receipt for the applicant pursuant to § 24.2-418.1, and shall require each applicant to provide the information required subject to felony penalties for making false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016.

Each state form shall be accompanied by the following statement featured prominently in boldface capital letters: "WARNING: INTENTIONALLY MAKING A MATERIALLY FALSE STATEMENT ON THIS FORM CONSTITUTES THE CRIME OF ELECTION FRAUD, WHICH IS PUNISHABLE UNDER VIRGINIA LAW AS A FELONY. VIOLATORS MAY BE SENTENCED TO UP TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON, OR UP TO 12 MONTHS IN JAIL AND/OR FINED UP TO $2,500."

1996, cc. 72, 73; 2008, c. 865; 2015, c. 740.

§ 24.2-416.3. Distribution of mail voter registration application forms.

A. Subject to the conditions set forth in § 24.2-416.6, the Department of Elections shall make available to any individual or group a reasonable number of mail voter registration application forms.

B. The Department shall provide a reasonable number of mail voter registration application forms to each agent of the Department of Wildlife Resources authorized to sell hunting or fishing licenses in Virginia. The Department of Wildlife Resources shall assist the Department by providing a list of its agents appointed to sell hunting and fishing licenses in Virginia and by instructing its agents to make the mail voter registration application forms available to persons purchasing hunting or fishing licenses.

C. The Department shall provide a reasonable number of mail voter registration application forms to (i) each public institution of higher education, as that term is defined in § 23.1-100; (ii) each nonprofit private institution of higher education, as that term is defined in § 23.1-100, that is eligible to participate in the Tuition Assistance Grant Program pursuant to Article 5 (§ 23.1-628 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of Title 23.1; and (iii) any other entity authorized to issue bonds pursuant to Chapter 11 (§ 23.1-1100 et seq.) of Title 23.1. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia shall assist the Department by providing a list of such institutions and by requesting those institutions to make the mail voter registration application forms available to students.

1996, cc. 72, 73; 2011, cc. 197, 225; 2013, c. 465; 2015, c. 740; 2020, cc. 921, 958.

§ 24.2-416.4. Return of mail voter registration applications.

A. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 24.2-416, a mail voter registration application returned through the United States Postal Service shall be deemed to have been made as of the date of the postmark affixed to such application by the United States Postal Service. If no such postmark is affixed or if the postmark affixed by the United States Postal Service is illegible or bears no date, such application shall be deemed to have been timely if received through the United States mail no later than five days following the time for the closing of the registration books pursuant to § 24.2-416.

B. In any other case, a completed mail voter registration application shall be deemed timely if received by any general registrar or any person authorized to receive voter registration applications pursuant to § 24.2-415.1 by 5:00 p.m. on the final day of registration provided for in § 24.2-414.

1996, cc. 72, 73; 2013, c. 680.

§ 24.2-416.5. Social security number or parts thereof not to be disclosed.

Any person assisting an applicant with the completion or return of a mail voter registration application shall not copy, disclose or make any use of the social security number, or any part thereof, of the applicant except as authorized by law for official use.

1996, cc. 72, 73; 2007, c. 318.

§ 24.2-416.6. Registration by and instructions for voter registration drives; compensation prohibitions.

Whenever the Department of Elections, local electoral board, or general registrar's office furnishes individuals or groups multiple copies of the voter registration application, it shall provide accompanying instructions that contain a copy and explanation of § 24.2-1002.01 and the penalty for destruction of, or failure to mail or deliver, voter registration applications that have been signed. Any like instructions furnished to the public by whatever means shall contain a copy and explanation of § 24.2-1002.01 and the penalty for destruction of, or failure to mail or deliver, voter registration applications. When obtaining 25 or more voter registration applications, such individuals or groups shall be required to register with and provide to the Department, local electoral board, or general registrar's office such information as required by the Department. Such individuals or agents representing a group shall be required to receive training as approved by the State Board and sign a sworn affidavit on a form prescribed by the State Board attesting that such individuals or organizations will abide by all Virginia laws and rules regarding the registration of voters.

No individual or group shall compensate its volunteers or employees on the basis of the number of completed voter registration applications the volunteer or employee collects. No volunteer or employee of an individual or group shall accept compensation based on the number of completed voter registration applications he collects.

2005, cc. 339, 412; 2013, c. 465; 2015, c. 740; 2017, c. 336.