Code of Virginia

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

Article 3. Locations and Times for Registration.

§ 24.2-411. Office of the general registrar.

A. Each local governing body shall furnish the general registrar with a clearly marked and suitable office which shall be the principal office for voter registration. The office shall be owned or leased by the city or county, or by the state for the location of Department of Motor Vehicles facilities, adequately furnished, and located within the city or within the county or a city in which the county courthouse is located. The governing body shall provide property damage liability and bodily injury liability coverage for the office and shall furnish the general registrar with necessary postage, stationery, equipment, and office supplies. The telephone number shall be listed in the local telephone directory separately or under the local governmental listing under the designation "Voter Registration."

No private business enterprise shall be conducted in the general registrar's office.

B. The general registrar's office in all counties and cities shall be open a minimum of five days each week, except as provided in subsection C.

Additional hours, if any, that the general registrar's office is open for voter registration may be determined and set by the general registrar or the electoral board.

C. The general registrar may close the office of the general registrar (i) for off-site training purposes for no more than four consecutive or cumulative days each year, provided that notice of the closure is posted on the official website of the county or city and in no fewer than two public places at least 72 hours before such closure, and (ii) quarterly to provide training in the office for a period not to exceed four hours without providing notice. However, no closure permitted by clause (i) or clause (ii) shall occur (a) within the seven days immediately preceding and immediately following an election, (b) during the period for absentee voting required by subsection A of § 24.2-701, (c) on the final registration day pursuant to § 24.2-414, or (d) on a deadline specified in the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act of 2006 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.).

Code 1950, §§ 24-52, 24-52.1, 24-55, 24-59 through 24-61, 24-65, 24-66, 24-71 through 24-76, 24-90, 24-93, 24-94, 24-101, 24-111, 24-118.1; 1954, c. 691; 1958, c. 576; 1962, cc. 422, 475, 536; 1963, Ex. Sess., c. 2; 1964, c. 608; 1968, cc. 97, 141; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-43, 24.1-46, 24.1-49; 1972, c. 620; 1973, c. 30; 1974, c. 428; 1975, c. 515; 1976, cc. 12, 616; 1978, c. 778; 1979, c. 329; 1980, c. 639; 1981, c. 425; 1982, cc. 290, 650; 1983, cc. 398, 511; 1984, c. 480; 1985, cc. 197, 530; 1986, c. 558; 1988, cc. 305, 528; 1989, c. 743; 1991, cc. 42, 136; 1993, c. 641; 1997, cc. 650, 666; 2000, cc. 512, 556; 2015, c. 740; 2016, c. 13; 2018, c. 539.

§ 24.2-411.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2020, cc. 908 and 909, cl. 2.

§ 24.2-411.2. State-designated voter registration agencies.

A. The following agencies are designated as voter registration agencies in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (52 U.S.C. § 20501 et seq.) and shall provide voter registration opportunities at their state, regional, or local offices, depending upon the point of service:

1. Agencies whose primary function is to provide public assistance, including agencies that provide benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program; Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children; Medicaid program; or Food Stamps program;

2. Agencies whose primary function is to provide state-funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities;

3. Armed Forces recruitment offices; and

4. The regional offices of the Department of Wildlife Resources and the offices of the Virginia Employment Commission in the Northern Virginia Planning District 8.

B. The Commissioner of Elections, with the assistance of the Office of the Attorney General, shall compile and maintain a list of the specific agencies covered by subdivisions A 1 and A 2 that, in the legal opinion of the Attorney General, must be designated to meet the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act. The Commissioner of Elections shall notify each agency of its designation and thereafter notify any agency added to or deleted from the list.

C. At each voter registration agency, the following services shall be made available on the premises of the agency:

1. Distribution of mail voter registration forms provided by the Department of Elections;

2. Assistance to applicants in completing voter registration application forms, unless the applicant refuses assistance; and

3. Receipt of completed voter registration application forms.

D. A voter registration agency, which provides service or assistance in conducting voter registration, shall make the following services available on the premises of the agency:

1. Distribution with each application for its service or assistance, or upon admission to a facility or program, and with each recertification, readmission, renewal, or change of address form, of a voter registration application prescribed by the Department of Elections that complies with the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act (52 U.S.C. § 20501 et seq.).

2. Provision, as part of the voter registration process, of a form that includes:

a. The question: "If you are not registered to vote where you live now, would you like to apply to register to vote here today?"

b. If the agency provides public assistance, the statement: "Applying to register or declining to register to vote will not affect the amount of assistance that you will be provided by this agency."

c. Boxes for the applicant to check to indicate whether the applicant would like to register, declines to register to vote, or is already registered (failure to check any box being deemed to constitute a declination to register for purposes of subdivision 2 a), together with the statement (in close proximity to the boxes and in prominent type): "IF YOU DO NOT CHECK ANY BOX, YOU WILL BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE DECIDED NOT TO REGISTER TO VOTE AT THIS TIME."

d. The statement: "If you would like help in filling out the voter registration application form, we will help you. The decision whether to seek help or accept help is yours. You may fill out the application form in private."

e. The statement: "If you believe that someone has interfered with your right to register or to decline to register to vote, or your right to privacy in deciding whether to register or in applying to register to vote, you may file a complaint with the Department of Elections." The statement shall include the address and telephone number of the Department.

f. The following statement accompanying the form which features 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."

3. Provision to each applicant who does not decline to register to vote of the same degree of assistance with regard to the completion of the voter registration application as is provided by the office with regard to the completion of its own applications, unless the applicant refuses assistance.

E. If a voter registration agency designated under subsection A of this section provides services to a person with a disability at the person's home, the agency shall provide the voter registration services as provided for in this section.

F. A person who provides services at a designated voter registration agency shall not:

1. Seek to influence an applicant's political preference;

2. Display any material indicating the person's political preference or party allegiance;

3. Make any statement to an applicant or take any action the purpose or effect of which is to lead the applicant to believe that a decision to register or not to register has any bearing on the availability of services or benefits; or

4. Disclose, except as authorized by law for official use, the social security number, or any part thereof, of any applicant for voter registration.

Any person who is aggrieved by a violation of this subsection may provide written notice of the violation to the Department. The Department shall be authorized to cooperate with the agency to resolve the alleged violation. Nothing contained in this subsection shall prohibit an aggrieved person from filing a complaint in accordance with § 24.2-1019 against a person who commits any election law offense enumerated in §§ 24.2-1000 through 24.2-1016.

G. A completed voter registration application shall be transmitted as directed by the Department not later than five business days after the date of receipt.

H. Each state-designated voter registration agency shall maintain such statistical records on the number of applications to register to vote as requested by the Department.

1996, cc. 72, 73; 2002, c. 747; 2007, c. 318; 2013, c. 542; 2015, c. 740; 2020, c. 958.

§ 24.2-411.3. Registration of Department of Motor Vehicles customers.

A. (Effective until January 1, 2021) Each person coming into an office of the Department of Motor Vehicles or accessing its website in order to (i) apply for, replace, or renew a driver's license; (ii) apply for, replace, or renew a special identification card; or (iii) change an address on an existing driver's license or special identification card shall be presented with (a) a question asking whether or not the person is a United States citizen and (b) the option to decline to have his information transmitted to the Department of Elections for voter registration purposes. The citizenship question and option to decline shall be accompanied by a statement that intentionally making a materially false statement during the transaction constitutes election fraud and is punishable under Virginia law as a felony.

The Department of Motor Vehicles may not transmit the information of any person who so declines. The Department of Motor Vehicles may not transmit the information of any person who indicates that he is not a United States citizen, nor may such person be asked any additional questions relevant to voter registration but not relevant to the purpose for which the person came to an office of the Department of Motor Vehicles or accessed its website.

A. (Effective January 1, 2021) Each person coming into an office of the Department of Motor Vehicles or accessing its website in order to (i) apply for, replace, or renew a driver's license or other document issued under Chapter 3 (§ 46.2-300 et seq.) of Title 46.2 except driver privilege cards or permits issued pursuant to § 46.2-328.3; or (ii) change an address on an existing driver's license or other document issued under Chapter 3 (§ 46.2-300 et seq.) of Title 46.2 except driver privilege cards or permits issued pursuant to § 46.2-328.3 shall be presented with (a) a question asking whether or not the person is a United States citizen and (b) the option to decline to have his information transmitted to the Department of Elections for voter registration purposes. The citizenship question and option to decline shall be accompanied by a statement that intentionally making a materially false statement during the transaction constitutes election fraud and is punishable under Virginia law as a felony.

The Department of Motor Vehicles may not transmit the information of any person who so declines. The Department of Motor Vehicles may not transmit the information of any person who indicates that he is not a United States citizen, nor may such person be asked any additional questions relevant to voter registration but not relevant to the purpose for which the person came to an office of the Department of Motor Vehicles or accessed its website.

B. For each person who does not select the option to decline to have his information transmitted to the Department of Elections for voter registration purposes and who has identified himself as a United States citizen, the Department of Motor Vehicles shall request any information as may be required by the State Board to ensure that the person meets all voter registration eligibility requirements.

C. The Department of Motor Vehicles shall electronically transmit to the Department of Elections, in accordance with the standards set by the State Board, the information collected pursuant to subsection B for any person who (i) has indicated that he is a United States citizen, (ii) has indicated that he is 17 years of age or older, and (iii) at the time of such transaction did not decline to have his information transmitted to the Department of Elections for voter registration purposes.

D. The Department of Elections shall use the information transmitted to determine whether a person already has a registration record in the voter registration system.

1. For any person who does not yet have a registration record in the voter registration system, the Department of Elections shall transmit the information to the appropriate general registrar. The general registrar shall accept or reject the registration of such person in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

2. For any person who already has a registration record in the voter registration system, if the information indicates that the voter has moved within the Commonwealth, the Department of Elections shall transmit the information and the registration record to the appropriate general registrar, who shall treat such transmittal as a request for transfer and process it in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

3. General registrars shall not register any person who does not satisfy all voter eligibility requirements.

2020, cc. 908, 909, 1227, 1246.

§ 24.2-412. Other locations and times for voter registration.

A. In addition to voter registration locations provided for in §§ 24.2-411, 24.2-411.2, and 24.2-411.3, opportunities for voter registration may be provided at other agency offices, business offices, establishments, and occasional sites open to the general public, and shall be provided as required by this section. Voter registration shall be conducted only in public places open to the general public and at preannounced hours. Assistant registrars should serve during such hours and at such places. The conduct of voter registration by the general registrar or an assistant registrar in public places at preannounced hours shall not be deemed solicitation of registration.

B. The general registrar is authorized to set within his jurisdiction ongoing locations and times for registration in local or state government agency offices or in businesses or other establishments open to the general public, subject to the approval of, and pursuant to an agreement with, the head of the government agency, the owner or manager of the business or establishment, or the designee of either. The agreement shall provide for the appointment of employees of the agency, business, or establishment to serve as assistant registrars and shall be in writing and approved by the local electoral board prior to implementation.

Employees of the agency, business, or establishment who are appointed to serve as assistant registrars may be nonresidents of the jurisdiction they are appointed to serve, provided that (i) they are qualified voters of the Commonwealth and (ii) they serve only at their place of employment within the jurisdiction they are appointed to serve.

C. The general registrar or electoral board may set additional occasional sites and times for registration within the jurisdiction. A multifamily residential building not usually open to the public may be used as an occasional registration site so long as the public has free access to the site during the time for registering voters. Voter registration conducted in a high school or at the location of a naturalization ceremony shall not be required to be open to the public.

Code 1950, §§ 24-74 through 24-76, 24-78; 1963, Ex. Sess., c. 2; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-49; 1975, c. 515; 1976, c. 616; 1984, c. 480; 1985, c. 530; 1986, c. 248, § 24.1-45.2; 1987, c. 478; 1988, c. 305; 1989, c. 743; 1991, cc. 42, 136; 1993, c. 641; 1996, cc. 72, 73; 1997, cc. 523, 539; 2020, cc. 858, 908, 909.

§ 24.2-413. Accessible registration locations.

The office of the general registrar, and each agency, business, and establishment set for registration pursuant to §§ 24.2-411.2 and 24.2-411.3 and subsection B of § 24.2-412 shall be accessible 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 Department shall provide instructions to the Department of Motor Vehicles, state-designated voter registration agencies, local electoral boards, and general registrars to assist them in complying with the requirements of the Acts.

In the selection of additional registration sites as provided in § 24.2-412, consideration shall be given to accessibility so that a reasonable number of accessible sites are provided and the requirements of the above cited Acts are met.

Code 1950, §§ 24-52, 24-52.1, 24-55, 24-61, 24-65, 24-66, 24-118.1; 1954, c. 691; 1962, c. 475; 1964, c. 608; 1968, cc. 97, 141; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-43; 1973, c. 30; 1974, c. 428; 1975, c. 515; 1976, c. 12; 1978, c. 778; 1981, c. 425; 1982, c. 290; 1983, c. 511; 1984, c. 480; 1985, c. 197; 1986, c. 558; 1988, c. 528; 1993, c. 641; 1996, cc. 72, 73; 2015, c. 740; 2020, cc. 908, 909.

§ 24.2-414. Final registration day.

Each general registrar shall hold a final day of registration on the day before the registration records close under § 24.2-416 for every election held in his jurisdiction. On the final day of registration, the principal office of the general registrar shall be open a minimum of eight hours. The registrar shall make a list by name of any persons in line at the time of closing and shall permit those persons to complete an application to register or to make any necessary changes to their registration records.

Code 1950, §§ 24-74 through 24-76, 24-78; 1963, Ex. Sess., c. 2; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-49; 1975, c. 515; 1976, c. 616; 1984, c. 480; 1985, c. 530; 1988, c. 305; 1989, c. 743; 1991, cc. 42, 136; 1993, cc. 545, 619, 641; 2001, cc. 613, 632; 2008, c. 424.

§ 24.2-414.1. Closing time of registration sites on final day.

The principal office of the registrar shall close for voter registration purposes at 5:00 p.m. on the final day of registration.

2013, c. 680.

§ 24.2-415. Notice of times and locations for registration.

A. The general registrar shall give notice of the date, hours, and locations for registration on the final day of registration at least 10 days before each final day. The notice for the final day shall be posted on the official website of the county or city, if applicable, and published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or city.

At least three days' advance notice shall be given for other times and locations for voter registration. This notice shall be posted on the official website of the county or city, if applicable, and published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or city, or announced at least twice on a television station serving the county or city.

B. Notice shall not be required for (i) the regular office hours for the general registrar's office or any other office normally staffed by one or more registrars, (ii) any office or location offering voter registration services or forms in the normal course of its daily business, or (iii) any other location at which mail applications are offered under Article 3.1 (§ 24.2-416.1 et seq.) of this chapter but no registrar, nor any person authorized to receive voter registration applications pursuant to § 24.2-415.1, is present.

Code 1950, §§ 24-74 through 24-76, 24-78; 1963, Ex. Sess., c. 2; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-49; 1975, c. 515; 1976, c. 616; 1984, c. 480; 1985, c. 530; 1988, c. 305; 1989, c. 743; 1991, cc. 42, 136; 1993, c. 641; 2003, c. 969; 2012, cc. 328, 486.

§ 24.2-415.1. Persons authorized to receive voter registration applications.

A. Any designated employee of a state-designated voter registration agency or Armed Forces recruitment office shall be authorized to receive a voter registration application when hand delivered by the applicant during the hours that the office is open.

B. The registration date for a valid voter registration application that has been hand delivered is the date when received by any general registrar or any person authorized to receive voter registration applications pursuant to subsection A.

1996, cc. 72, 73; 2020, cc. 908, 909.

§ 24.2-416. Closing registration records before elections.

In any county, city, or town in which an election is being held, the registration records shall be closed for the purpose of registering voters on the election day and during the period in advance of the election as provided in this section. The registration records shall be closed during the twenty-eight days before a primary or general election. Beginning January 1, 2010, the registration records shall be closed during the 21 days before a primary or general election. If the registration records have not been closed previously for a primary or general election, they shall be closed during the six days before a special election called by the Governor, Speaker of the House of Delegates, or President pro tempore of the Senate, or pursuant to rule or resolution of either house of the General Assembly and during the thirteen days before any other special election.

Code 1950, §§ 24-82, 24-83.1; 1962, c. 536; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-50; 1973, c. 30; 1975, c. 515; 1993, c. 641; 2008, c. 424.