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 6. The Election
6/13/2021

Article 4. Conduct of Election; Election Results.

§ 24.2-643. (Effective until January 1, 2021) Qualified voter permitted to vote; procedures at polling place; voter identification.

A. After the polls are open, each qualified voter at a precinct shall be permitted to vote. The officers of election shall ascertain that a person offering to vote is a qualified voter before admitting him to the voting booth and furnishing an official ballot to him.

B. An officer of election shall ask the voter for his full name and current residence address and the voter may give such information orally or in writing. The officer of election shall verify with the voter his full name and address and shall repeat, in a voice audible to party and candidate representatives present, the full name provided by the voter. The officer shall ask the voter to present any one of the following forms of identification: (i) his voter confirmation documents; (ii) his valid Virginia driver's license, his valid United States passport, or any other identification issued by the Commonwealth, one of its political subdivisions, or the United States; (iii) any valid student identification card issued by any institution of higher education located in the Commonwealth or any private school located in the Commonwealth; (iv) any valid student identification card issued by any institution of higher education located in any other state or territory of the United States; (v) any valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer's business; or (vi) a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document containing the name and address of the voter. The expiration date on a Virginia driver's license shall not be considered when determining the validity of the driver's license offered for purposes of this section.

Except as provided in subsection E, any voter who does not show one of the forms of identification specified in this subsection shall be allowed to vote after signing a statement, subject to felony penalties for false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, that he is the named registered voter he claims to be. A voter who requires assistance in voting by reason of a physical disability or an inability to read or write, and who requests assistance pursuant to § 24.2-649, may be assisted in preparation of this statement in accordance with that section. The provisions of § 24.2-649 regarding voters who are unable to sign shall be followed when assisting a voter in completing this statement. A voter who does not show one of the forms of identification specified in this subsection and does not sign this statement shall be offered a provisional ballot under the provisions of § 24.2-653. The State Board of Elections shall provide an ID-ONLY provisional ballot envelope that requires no follow-up action by the registrar or electoral board other than matching submitted identification documents from the voter for the electoral board to make a determination on whether to count the ballot.

If the voter presents one of the forms of identification listed above, if his name is found on the pollbook in a form identical to or substantially similar to the name on the presented form of identification and the name provided by the voter, if he is qualified to vote in the election, and if no objection is made, an officer shall enter, opposite the voter's name on the pollbook, the first or next consecutive number from the voter count form provided by the State Board, or shall enter that the voter has voted if the pollbook is in electronic form; an officer shall provide the voter with the official ballot; and another officer shall admit him to the voting booth. Each voter whose name has been marked on the pollbooks as present to vote and entitled to a ballot shall remain in the presence of the officers of election in the polling place until he has voted. If a line of voters who have been marked on the pollbooks as present to vote forms to await entry to the voting booths, the line shall not be permitted to extend outside of the room containing the voting booths and shall remain under observation by the officers of election.

A voter may be accompanied into the voting booth by his child age 15 or younger.

C. If the current residence address provided by the voter is different from the address shown on the pollbook, the officer of election shall furnish the voter with a change of address form prescribed by the State Board. Upon its completion, the voter shall sign the prescribed form, subject to felony penalties for making false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, which the officer of election shall then place in an envelope provided for such forms for transmission to the general registrar who shall then transfer or cancel the registration of such voter pursuant to Chapter 4 (§ 24.2-400 et seq.).

D. At the time the voter is asked his full name and current residence address, the officer of election shall ask any voter for whom the pollbook indicates that an identification number other than a social security number is recorded on the Virginia voter registration system if he presently has a social security number. If the voter is able to provide his social security number, he shall be furnished with a voter registration form prescribed by the State Board to update his registration information. Upon its completion, the form shall be placed by the officer of election in an envelope provided for such forms for transmission to the general registrar. Any social security numbers so provided shall be entered by the general registrar in the voter's record on the voter registration system.

E. This subsection shall apply in the case of any individual 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 he votes in a federal election in the state. At such election, such individual shall present (i) 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 in person but does not show one of the forms of identification specified in this subsection shall be offered a provisional ballot under the provisions of § 24.2-653. The identification requirements of subsection B of this section and subsection A of § 24.2-653 shall not apply to such voter at such election. The Department of Elections shall provide instructions to the electoral boards for the handling and counting of such provisional ballots pursuant to subsection B of § 24.2-653 and this section.

Code 1950, §§ 24-244, 24-245, 24-248, 24-252, 24-308; 1952, c. 581; 1962, c. 536; 1964, c. 593; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-125, 24.1-126, 24.1-129, 24.1-218; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 247; 1973, c. 30; 1975, c. 515; 1978, c. 778; 1981, c. 425; 1982, c. 650, § 24.1-126.1; 1984, c. 234; 1985, cc. 197, 458; 1987, c. 349; 1993, c. 641; 1995, c. 716; 1996, cc. 72, 73; 1999, c. 725; 2000, cc. 366, 451; 2003, c. 1015; 2004, c. 410; 2005, cc. 496, 539; 2011, cc. 427, 458; 2012, cc. 723, 838, 839; 2013, cc. 725, 746; 2015, cc. 134, 571; 2016, c. 399; 2020, cc. 296, 1064, 1065, 1154.

§ 24.2-643. (Effective January 1, 2021) Qualified voter permitted to vote; procedures at polling place; voter identification.

A. After the polls are open, each qualified voter at a precinct shall be permitted to vote. The officers of election shall ascertain that a person offering to vote is a qualified voter before admitting him to the voting booth and furnishing an official ballot to him.

B. An officer of election shall ask the voter for his full name and current residence address and the voter may give such information orally or in writing. The officer of election shall verify with the voter his full name and address and shall repeat, in a voice audible to party and candidate representatives present, the full name provided by the voter. The officer shall ask the voter to present any one of the following forms of identification: (i) his voter confirmation documents; (ii) his valid Virginia driver's license, his valid United States passport, or any other identification issued by the Commonwealth, one of its political subdivisions, or the United States, other than a driver privilege card issued under § 46.2-328.3; (iii) any valid student identification card issued by any institution of higher education located in the Commonwealth or any private school located in the Commonwealth; (iv) any valid student identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by any institution of higher education located in any other state or territory of the United States; (v) any valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer's business; or (vi) a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document containing the name and address of the voter. The expiration date on a Virginia driver's license shall not be considered when determining the validity of the driver's license offered for purposes of this section.

Except as provided in subsection E, any voter who does not show one of the forms of identification specified in this subsection shall be allowed to vote after signing a statement, subject to felony penalties for false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, that he is the named registered voter he claims to be. A voter who requires assistance in voting by reason of a physical disability or an inability to read or write, and who requests assistance pursuant to § 24.2-649, may be assisted in preparation of this statement in accordance with that section. The provisions of § 24.2-649 regarding voters who are unable to sign shall be followed when assisting a voter in completing this statement. A voter who does not show one of the forms of identification specified in this subsection and does not sign this statement shall be offered a provisional ballot under the provisions of § 24.2-653. The State Board of Elections shall provide an ID-ONLY provisional ballot envelope that requires no follow-up action by the registrar or electoral board other than matching submitted identification documents from the voter for the electoral board to make a determination on whether to count the ballot.

If the voter presents one of the forms of identification listed above, if his name is found on the pollbook in a form identical to or substantially similar to the name on the presented form of identification and the name provided by the voter, if he is qualified to vote in the election, and if no objection is made, an officer shall enter, opposite the voter's name on the pollbook, the first or next consecutive number from the voter count form provided by the State Board, or shall enter that the voter has voted if the pollbook is in electronic form; an officer shall provide the voter with the official ballot; and another officer shall admit him to the voting booth. Each voter whose name has been marked on the pollbooks as present to vote and entitled to a ballot shall remain in the presence of the officers of election in the polling place until he has voted. If a line of voters who have been marked on the pollbooks as present to vote forms to await entry to the voting booths, the line shall not be permitted to extend outside of the room containing the voting booths and shall remain under observation by the officers of election.

A voter may be accompanied into the voting booth by his child age 15 or younger.

C. If the current residence address provided by the voter is different from the address shown on the pollbook, the officer of election shall furnish the voter with a change of address form prescribed by the State Board. Upon its completion, the voter shall sign the prescribed form, subject to felony penalties for making false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, which the officer of election shall then place in an envelope provided for such forms for transmission to the general registrar who shall then transfer or cancel the registration of such voter pursuant to Chapter 4 (§ 24.2-400 et seq.).

D. At the time the voter is asked his full name and current residence address, the officer of election shall ask any voter for whom the pollbook indicates that an identification number other than a social security number is recorded on the Virginia voter registration system if he presently has a social security number. If the voter is able to provide his social security number, he shall be furnished with a voter registration form prescribed by the State Board to update his registration information. Upon its completion, the form shall be placed by the officer of election in an envelope provided for such forms for transmission to the general registrar. Any social security numbers so provided shall be entered by the general registrar in the voter's record on the voter registration system.

E. This subsection shall apply in the case of any individual 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 he votes in a federal election in the state. At such election, such individual shall present (i) 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 in person but does not show one of the forms of identification specified in this subsection shall be offered a provisional ballot under the provisions of § 24.2-653. The identification requirements of subsection B of this section and subsection A of § 24.2-653 shall not apply to such voter at such election. The Department of Elections shall provide instructions to the electoral boards for the handling and counting of such provisional ballots pursuant to subsection B of § 24.2-653 and this section.

Code 1950, §§ 24-244, 24-245, 24-248, 24-252, 24-308; 1952, c. 581; 1962, c. 536; 1964, c. 593; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-125, 24.1-126, 24.1-129, 24.1-218; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 247; 1973, c. 30; 1975, c. 515; 1978, c. 778; 1981, c. 425; 1982, c. 650, § 24.1-126.1; 1984, c. 234; 1985, cc. 197, 458; 1987, c. 349; 1993, c. 641; 1995, c. 716; 1996, cc. 72, 73; 1999, c. 725; 2000, cc. 366, 451; 2003, c. 1015; 2004, c. 410; 2005, cc. 496, 539; 2011, cc. 427, 458; 2012, cc. 723, 838, 839; 2013, cc. 725, 746; 2015, cc. 134, 571; 2016, c. 399; 2020, cc. 296, 1064, 1065, 1154, 1227, 1246.

§ 24.2-644. Voting by paper ballot; voting for presidential electors; write-in votes.

A. The qualified voter shall take the official paper ballot and enter the voting booth. After entering the voting booth, the qualified voter shall mark the ballot in accordance with the instructions for the type of ballot, for each candidate for whom he wishes to vote, leaving unmarked the name of each candidate for whom he does not wish to vote. Any ballot marked so that the intent of the voter is clear shall be counted.

B. The qualified voter at a presidential election shall mark the ballot in accordance with the instructions for the type of ballot, for his choice of candidates for President and Vice President. His ballot so marked shall be counted as if he had marked the ballot in accordance with the instructions for the type of ballot preceding the names of the individual electors affiliated with his choice for President and Vice President. The qualified voter at a presidential election may cast a write-in vote for President and Vice President as provided in subsections C and D.

C. At all elections except primary elections it is lawful for any voter to vote for any person other than the listed candidates for the office by writing or hand printing the person's name on the official ballot. No check or other mark shall be required to cast a valid write-in vote. Write-in votes for President and Vice President shall be counted only for candidates who have filed a joint declaration of intent to be write-in candidates for the offices with the Commissioner of Elections not less than 10 days before the date of the presidential election. The declaration of intent shall be on a form prescribed by the State Board and shall include a list of presidential electors pledged to those candidates which equals the whole number of senators and representatives to which the Commonwealth at that time is entitled in the Congress of the United States. A write-in vote cast for candidates for President and Vice President, or for a candidate for President only, shall be counted for the individual electors listed on the declaration of intent as pledged to those candidates.

D. No write-in vote shall be counted unless the name is entered on the ballot in conformance with this section. No write-in vote shall be counted when it is apparent to the officers of election that a voter has voted for the same person for the same office more than one time. No write-in vote shall be counted for an office for any person whose name appears on the ballot as a candidate for that office. If two or more persons are to be elected to the same office, a voter may vote for one or more persons whose names do appear on the ballot and one or more persons whose names do not appear on the ballot, provided that the total number of votes cast by him for that office does not exceed the number of persons to be elected to that office.

Code 1950, §§ 24-245, 24-252, 24-290.5, 24-307; 1952, c. 581; 1962, cc. 260, 536; 1964, c. 593; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-129, 24.1-161, 24.1-217; 1973, c. 30; 1975, c. 515; 1984, c. 234; 1985, cc. 197, 458; 1987, c. 349; 1990, c. 214; 1993, c. 641; 1997, c. 100; 2013, c. 542; 2018, c. 464.

§ 24.2-645. Defaced printed ballots.

If any printed ballot is unintentionally or accidentally defaced and rendered unfit for voting, the voter may deliver the defaced ballot to the officer of election and receive another. The returned ballot shall be marked spoiled by the officer of election and placed in the spoiled ballot envelope.

Code 1950, § 24-238; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-130; 1987, c. 349; 1993, c. 641; 2014, cc. 540, 576.

§ 24.2-646. Voter folds paper ballot and hands same to officer who deposits it unopened in ballot container.

The qualified voter shall fold each paper ballot with the names of the candidates and questions on the inside and hand the folded ballot to the appropriate officer of election. The officer shall place the ballot in the ballot container without any inspection except to assure himself that only a single ballot has been tendered and that the ballot is a genuine ballot. Without looking at the printed inside of the ballot, the officer may inspect the official seal on the back of the ballot to determine if it is genuine.

Code 1950, § 24-247; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-131; 1993, c. 641; 2003, c. 1015; 2014, cc. 540, 576.

§ 24.2-646.1. Permitted use of paper ballots.

The official paper ballot shall be used by a voter to cast his vote only in one of the following circumstances:

1. The official paper ballot is the only ballot in use in the precinct.

2. The official paper ballot is used by voters voting outside the polling place pursuant to § 24.2-649.

3. The voter is casting a provisional ballot.

4. The voter is provided an official paper ballot or copy thereof pursuant to § 24.2-642 when voting equipment is inoperable or otherwise unavailable.

5. The official absentee paper ballot voted in accordance with (§ 24.2-700 et seq.).

6. The voter is provided an official paper ballot for a presidential election pursuant to § 24.2-402 or for federal elections pursuant to § 24.2-453.

2006, c. 492; 2015, c. 313.

§ 24.2-647. Voting systems; demonstration on election day.

The general registrar shall provide at each polling place on election day, for the voting system in use, a model of or materials displaying a portion of its ballot face. The model or materials shall be located on the table of one of the officers or in some other place accessible to the voters. An officer of election shall instruct any voter who requests instruction before voting on the proper manner of voting. The officer may direct the voter's attention to sample ballots so that the voter may become familiar with the location of questions and names of offices and candidates.

For ballot scanner machines, an officer of election, using a demonstration ballot and machine, shall show each voter who requests, immediately on entry to the polling place, the manner in which the ballot is to be voted.

If any voter, after entering the voting booth, asks for further instructions concerning the manner of voting, two of the officers from different political parties shall give such instructions to him, but no officer shall in any manner request or seek to persuade or induce any such voter to vote for or against any particular ticket, candidate, or question. After giving such instructions and before the voter votes, the officers shall leave the voting booth, and the voter shall cast his ballot in secret.

Code 1950, § 24-309; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-219; 1980, c. 639; 1985, c. 458; 1993, c. 641; 2014, cc. 540, 576; 2016, cc. 18, 492.

§ 24.2-648. Write-in votes on voting equipment.

Write-in votes may be cast on voting equipment for any person whose name does not appear on the ballot as a candidate for the office being voted, subject to this section and the provisions of § 24.2-644 not in conflict with this section.

Each write-in vote shall be entered in the receptacle or area designated on the machine for the office being elected. A write-in vote shall be cast in its appropriate place, in accordance with the instructions for that equipment, or it shall be void and not counted.

Except on machines that provide a means to enter a name electronically, each write-in vote shall be entered by the voter in his own handwriting or hand printing.

Code 1950, § 24-307; 1962, c. 260; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-217; 1975, c. 515; 1985, c. 458; 1990, c. 214; 1993, c. 641; 1996, c. 5; 2014, cc. 540, 576.

§ 24.2-649. Assistance for certain voters; penalties.

A. Any voter age 65 or older or physically disabled may request and then shall be handed a printed ballot by an officer of election outside the polling place but within 150 feet of the entrance to the polling place. The voter shall mark the printed ballot in the officer's presence but in a secret manner and, obscuring his vote, return the ballot to the officer. The officer shall immediately return to the polling place and shall deposit a paper ballot in the ballot container in accordance with § 24.2-646 or a machine-readable ballot in the ballot scanner machine in accordance with the instructions of the State Board.

Any county or city that has acquired an electronic voting machine that is so constructed as to be easily portable may use the voting machine in lieu of a printed ballot for the voter requiring assistance pursuant to this subsection. However, the electronic voting machine may be used in lieu of a printed ballot only so long as: (i) the voting machine remains in the plain view of two officers of election representing two political parties, or in a primary election, two officers of election representing the party conducting the primary, provided that if the use of two officers for this purpose would result in too few officers remaining in the polling place to meet legal requirements, the voting machine shall remain in plain view of one officer who shall be either the chief officer or the assistant chief officer and (ii) the voter casts his ballot in a secret manner unless the voter requests assistance pursuant to this section. After the voter has completed voting his ballot, the officer or officers shall immediately return the voting machine to its assigned location inside the polling place. The machine number, the time that the machine was removed and the time that it was returned, the number on the machine's public counter before the machine was removed and the number on the same counter when it was returned, and the name or names of the officer or officers who accompanied the machine shall be recorded on the statement of results.

B. Any qualified voter who requires assistance to vote by reason of physical disability or inability to read or write may, if he so requests, be assisted in voting. If he is blind, he may designate an officer of election or any other person to assist him. If he is unable to read and write or disabled for any cause other than blindness, he may designate an officer of election or some other person to assist him other than the voter's employer or agent of that employer, or officer or agent of the voter's union.

The officer of election or other person so designated shall not enter the booth with the voter unless (i) the voter signs a request stating that he requires assistance by reason of physical disability or inability to read or write and (ii) the officer of election or other person signs a statement that he is not the voter's employer or an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union, and that he will act in accordance with the requirements of this section. The request and statement shall be on a single form furnished by the State Board. If the voter is unable to sign the request, his own mark acknowledged by him before an officer of election shall be sufficient signature, provided no mark shall be required of a voter who is blind. An officer of election shall advise the voter and person assisting the voter of the requirements of this section and record the name of the voter and the name and address of the person assisting him.

The officer of election or other person so designated shall assist the qualified voter in the preparation of his ballot in accordance with his instructions and without soliciting his vote or in any manner attempting to influence his vote and shall not in any manner divulge or indicate, by signs or otherwise, how the voter voted on any office or question. If a printed ballot is used, the officer or other person so designated shall deposit the ballot in the ballot container in accordance with § 24.2-646 or in the ballot scanner machine in accordance with the instructions of the State Board.

C. If the voter requires assistance in a language other than English and has not designated a person to assist him, an officer of election, before he assists as interpreter, shall inquire of the representatives authorized to be present pursuant to § 24.2-604.4 whether they have a volunteer available who can interpret for the voter. One representative interpreter for each party or candidate, insofar as available, shall be permitted to observe the officer of election communicate with the voter. The voter may designate one of the volunteer party or candidate interpreters to provide assistance. A person so designated by the voter shall meet all the requirements of this section for a person providing assistance.

D. A person who willfully violates subsection B or C is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. In addition, the provisions of § 24.2-1016 and its felony penalties for false statements shall be applicable to any request or statement signed pursuant to this section, and the provisions of §§ 24.2-704 and 24.2-1012 and the felony penalties for violations of the law related to providing assistance to absentee voters shall be applicable in such cases.

E. In any precinct in which an electronic voting machine is available that provides an audio ballot, the officers of election shall notify a voter requiring assistance pursuant to this section that such machine is available for him to use to vote in privacy without assistance and the officers of election shall instruct the voter on the use of the voting machine. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a voter to use the machine unassisted.

Code 1950, §§ 24-245, 24-251, 24-252, 24-310; 1950, c. 230; 1952, c. 581; 1962, c. 536; 1964, c. 593; 1969, Ex. Sess., c. 5; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-129, 24.1-132, 24.1-220; 1973, c. 30; 1975, c. 515; 1978, c. 778; 1984, cc. 234, 775; 1985, cc. 197, 458; 1986, c. 558; 1987, c. 349; 1988, c. 598; 1993, c. 641; 2003, c. 1015; 2004, cc. 993, 1010; 2005, c. 569; 2006, c. 242; 2009, c. 809; 2014, cc. 540, 576; 2020, c. 561.

§ 24.2-650. Officers to sign only official papers, etc.

No officer of election shall sign or otherwise mark any paper, form, or item, other than one furnished by the State Board, his electoral board, or general registrar, at his polling place during the hours that the polls are open.

1976, c. 616, § 24.1-132.1; 1993, c. 641.

§ 24.2-651. Voter who is challenged; how challenge tried.

Any qualified voter may, and the officers of election shall, challenge the vote of any person who is listed on the pollbook but is known or suspected not to be a qualified voter.

The individual making the challenge shall complete and sign the following statement on a form provided by the State Board:

"I do hereby state, subject to penalties for hindering, intimidating, or interfering with a qualified voter pursuant to § 24.2-607, that I am a qualified voter of this Commonwealth or an officer of election and that, to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief, _______________ is not a qualified voter of this precinct by reason of (please check each of the following reasons that is applicable):

1. The named person is not a citizen of the United States;

2. The named person is not now 18 years of age or, in the case of a primary election or a special election held on a date other that a general election date, will not reach the age of 18 before the next general election;

3. The named person is not a resident of the Commonwealth (or, if he has not been a resident of the Commonwealth within the preceding 30 days, he is attempting to vote for an office or issue other than electors of President and Vice President of the United States);

4. The named person is not a resident of this precinct (or he has not been a resident of this precinct since the second preceding general federal election and has not continued to be a resident of this county or city and this congressional district);

5. The named person is not a resident of the town in the case of a town election;

6. The named person has been disqualified from voting by the Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth and this disqualification has not been removed by proper authority;

7. The named person is not the identical person he represents himself to be; or

8. The named person has voted in this election at this or another voting place (state when and where the named person previously voted in this election: _______________)."

Upon receipt of a signed challenge from a qualified voter or officer of election, an officer of election shall explain to the challenged voter the qualifications of a voter and may examine him concerning his qualifications.

The officers of election are hereby authorized to administer the necessary oath or affirmation to any witness brought before them to testify as to the qualifications of any person offering to vote.

If the person being challenged insists that he is qualified and the challenge is not withdrawn, one of the officers shall give him a form containing the following statement:

"I do hereby state, subject to felony penalties for making false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, that I am a citizen of the United States, that I am at least 18 years of age (or will be on the __________ day of __________, _____) that I am a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia (or that I have been a resident of this Commonwealth within the preceding 30 days and am voting only for electors of President and Vice President of the United States), and that, according to the best of my knowledge, information and belief, I am not disqualified from voting by the Constitution and laws of this Commonwealth; that my full name is _______________; that in such name I was duly registered as a voter of this precinct; that I am now or at some time since the last November general election have been an actual resident of this precinct or that I have been an actual resident of this precinct at some time since the second preceding general federal election and have been and continue to be a resident of this county or city and this congressional district; if I am voting in a town election today, that I am currently a resident of that town; that I am the identical person I represent myself to be; and that I have not voted in this election at this or any voting place and will not vote in this election at any other voting place."

If the person challenged refuses to sign the statement, he shall not be permitted to vote. If, however, he signs the statement, he shall be permitted to vote on the voting system in use at the precinct, unless he is required to cast a provisional ballot pursuant to § 24.2-651.1.

When the voter has signed the statement and is permitted to vote, the officers of election shall mark his name on the pollbook with the first or next consecutive number from the voter count form, or shall enter that the voter has voted if the pollbook is in electronic form, and shall indicate on the pollbook that he has signed the required statement in accordance with the instructions of the State Board.

If the envelope containing a voted absentee ballot has been properly signed by the voter, such ballot shall not be subject to challenge pursuant to this section.

Code 1950, §§ 24-253, 24-254, 24-325; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-133; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 265; 1972, c. 620; 1977, c. 490; 1978, c. 778; 1980, c. 639; 1981, c. 425; 1983, c. 461; 1993, c. 641; 1997, c. 346; 2003, c. 1015; 2007, c. 375; 2012, cc. 838, 839.

§ 24.2-651.1. Voter who is shown as having already voted; provisional ballots.

Any person who offers to vote, who is listed on the pollbook, and whose name is marked to indicate that he has already voted in person in the election shall cast a provisional ballot pursuant to § 24.2-653. The State Board of Elections shall provide instructions to the electoral boards for the handling and counting of such provisional ballots.

1997, c. 915; 2000, cc. 366, 451; 2003, c. 1015; 2012, cc. 723, 838, 839; 2020, c. 735.

§ 24.2-652. Voter whose name erroneously omitted from pollbook; provisional ballots.

A. When a person offers to vote and his name does not appear on the pollbook, the officers of election shall permit him to vote only if all of the following conditions are met:

1. An officer of election is informed by the general registrar that the voter is registered to vote, that his registration has not been cancelled, and that his name is erroneously omitted from the pollbook.

2. The voter signs a statement, subject to felony penalties for false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, that he is a qualified and registered voter of that precinct, a resident of that precinct, and his registration is not subject to cancellation pursuant to §§ 24.2-430, 24.2-431, and 24.2-432; and he provides, subject to such penalties, all the information required to identify himself including the last four digits of his social security number, if any, full name including the maiden or any other prior legal name, birthdate, and complete address.

3. The officer of election enters the identifying information for the voter on the pollbook.

When the voter has signed the statement and is permitted to vote, the officers of election shall mark his name on the pollbook with the next consecutive number from the voter count form, or shall enter that the voter has voted if the pollbook is in electronic form, and shall indicate on the pollbook that he has signed the required statement in accordance with the instructions of the State Board.

B. If the general registrar is not available or cannot state that the person is registered to vote, such person shall be allowed to vote by provisional ballot pursuant to § 24.2-653. The officers of election shall provide to him an application for registration. The State Board of Elections shall provide instructions to the electoral boards for the handling and counting of such provisional ballots.

Code 1950, § 24-95; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-55; 1974, c. 428; 1975, c. 515; 1981, c. 425; 1984, c. 480; 1993, c. 641; 2003, c. 1015; 2011, c. 602; 2020, c. 735.

§ 24.2-653. Provisional voting; procedures in polling place.

A. Any person voting provisionally pursuant to subsection B of § 24.2-643, § 24.2-651.1, subsection B of § 24.2-652, or § 24.2-653.1 or 24.2-653.2 shall be given a printed ballot and provide, subject to the penalties for making false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, on a green envelope supplied by the Department of Elections, the identifying information required on the envelope, including the last four digits of his social security number, if any, full name including the maiden or any other prior legal name, date of birth, complete address, and signature. Such person shall be asked to present one of the forms of identification specified in subsection B of § 24.2-643. If he is unable to present one of these forms of identification, he shall sign a statement, subject to felony penalties for false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, that he is the named registered voter he claims to be. The officers of election shall note on the green envelope whether or not the voter has presented one of the specified forms of identification or signed the required statement in lieu of presenting one of the specified forms of identification. The officers of election shall enter the appropriate information for the person in the precinct provisional ballots log in accordance with the instructions of the State Board but shall not enter a consecutive number for the voter on the pollbook nor otherwise mark his name as having voted.

The voter shall then, in the presence of an officer of election, but in a secret manner, mark the printed ballot as provided in § 24.2-644 and seal it in the green envelope. The envelope containing the ballot shall then promptly be placed in the ballot container by an officer of election.

B. An officer of election, by a written notice given to the voter, shall inform him that a determination of his right to vote shall be made by the electoral board and advise the voter of the beginning time and place for the board's meeting and of the voter's right to be present at that meeting. If the voter is voting provisionally as required by § 24.2-643, an officer of election, by written notice given to the voter, shall also inform him that he may submit a copy of one of the forms of identification specified in subsection B of § 24.2-643 or a statement, signed by him subject to felony penalties for false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, that he is the named registered voter he claims to be to the electoral board by facsimile, electronic mail, in-person submission, or timely United States Postal Service or commercial mail delivery, to be received by the electoral board no later than noon on the third day after the election.

C. The provisional votes submitted pursuant to subsection A, in their unopened envelopes, shall be sealed in a special envelope marked "Provisional Votes," inscribed with the number of envelopes contained therein, and signed by the officers of election who counted them. All provisional votes envelopes shall be delivered either (i) to the clerk of the circuit court who shall deliver all such envelopes to the secretary of the electoral board or (ii) to the general registrar in localities in which the electoral board has directed delivery of election materials to the general registrar pursuant to § 24.2-668.

1975, c. 515, §§ 24.1-55.1, 24.1-55.2; 1982, c. 650; 1993, c. 641; 1996, c. 8; 1997, cc. 438, 456; 2002, c. 24; 2003, cc. 984, 1015; 2004, c. 410; 2005, c. 824; 2007, c. 692; 2008, cc. 110, 559; 2010, c. 448; 2012, cc. 592, 838, 839; 2013, c. 503; 2014, cc. 486, 540, 576; 2015, cc. 133, 712; 2020, cc. 735, 1064, 1065.

§ 24.2-653.01. Provisional ballots; electoral boards to make determination as to validity.

A. The electoral board shall meet on the day following the election and determine whether each person having submitted a provisional vote pursuant to § 24.2-653 was entitled to do so as a qualified voter in the precinct in which he offered the provisional vote. In the case of persons voting provisionally pursuant to § 24.2-653.3, the electoral board shall determine of which district the person is a qualified voter. At the meeting, the voter may request an extension of the determination of the provisional vote in order to provide information to prove that the voter is entitled to vote in the precinct pursuant to § 24.2-401. The electoral board shall have the authority to grant such extensions that it deems reasonable to determine the status of a provisional vote.

If the board is unable to determine the validity of all the provisional ballots offered in the election, or has granted any voter who has offered a provisional ballot an extension, the meeting shall stand adjourned, not to exceed seven calendar days from the date of the election, until the board has determined the validity of all provisional ballots offered in the election.

B. The electoral board shall permit one authorized representative of each political party or independent candidate in a general or special election or one authorized representative of each candidate in a primary election to remain in the room in which the determination is being made as an observer so long as he does not participate in the proceedings and does not impede the orderly conduct of the determination. Each authorized representative shall be a qualified voter of any jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. Each representative, who is not himself a candidate or party chairman, shall present to the electoral board a written statement designating him to be a representative of the party or candidate and signed by the county or city chairman of his political party, the independent candidate, or the primary candidate, as appropriate. If the county or city chairman is unavailable to sign such a written designation, such a designation may be made by the state or district chairman of the political party. However, no written designation made by a state or district chairman shall take precedence over a written designation made by the county or city chairman. Such statement, bearing the chairman's or candidate's original signature, may be photocopied and such photocopy shall be as valid as if the copy had been signed.

Notwithstanding the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.), attendance at meetings of the electoral board to determine the validity of provisional ballots shall be permitted only for the authorized representatives provided for in this subsection, for the persons whose provisional votes are being considered and their representative or legal counsel, and for appropriate staff and legal counsel for the electoral board.

C. If the electoral board determines that such person was not entitled to vote as a qualified voter in the precinct or district in which he offered the provisional vote, is unable to determine his right to vote, or has not been provided one of the forms of identification specified in subsection B of § 24.2-643, or the signed statement that the voter is the named registered voter he claims to be, the envelope containing his ballot shall not be opened and his vote shall not be counted. The general registrar shall notify in writing pursuant to § 24.2-114 those persons found not properly registered or whose provisional vote was not counted.

The provisional vote shall be counted if (i) such person is entitled to vote in the precinct pursuant to § 24.2-401 or (ii) the Department of Elections or the voter presents proof that indicates the voter submitted an application for registration to a state-designated voter registration agency or the voter's information was transmitted by the Department of Motor Vehicles to the Department of Elections pursuant to § 24.2-411.3 prior to the close of registration pursuant to § 24.2-416 and the registrar determines that the person was qualified for registration based upon the application for registration submitted by the person pursuant to subsection B of § 24.2-652.

If the electoral board determines that such person was entitled to vote, the name of the voter shall be entered in a provisional votes pollbook and marked as having voted, the envelope shall be opened, and the ballot shall be placed in a ballot container without any inspection further than that provided for in § 24.2-646.

D. On completion of its determination, the electoral board shall proceed to count such ballots and certify the results of its count. Its certified results shall be added to those found pursuant to § 24.2-671. No adjustment shall be made to the statement of results for the precinct in which the person offered to vote. However, any voter who cast a provisional ballot and is determined by the electoral board to have been entitled to vote shall have his name included on the list of persons who voted that is submitted to the Department of Elections pursuant to § 24.2-406.

E. The certification of the results of the count together with all ballots and envelopes, whether open or unopened, and other related material shall be delivered by the electoral board to the clerk of the circuit court and retained by him as provided for in §§ 24.2-668 and 24.2-669.

2020, cc. 735, 908, 909, 920, 1064, 1065.

§ 24.2-653.1. Voters who did not receive absentee ballots; provisional ballots.

Any person who offers to vote pursuant to § 24.2-643 at his proper polling place or at a central absentee voter precinct established by the governing body of the county or city where he is registered to vote, but whose name is shown on the pollbook as having applied for an absentee ballot, shall be entitled to cast a provisional ballot if, for any reason, he did not receive or has lost the absentee ballot. In such case, he shall be required to present to the officer of election a statement signed by him that he did not receive the ballot or has lost the ballot, subject to felony penalties for making false statements as pursuant to § 24.2-1016, before being given a printed ballot and permitted to vote the provisional ballot. The electoral board shall process the ballot in accordance with the provisions of § 24.2-653.01 and the instructions of the State Board.

2006, c. 283; 2010, c. 348; 2014, cc. 540, 576; 2020, c. 735.

§ 24.2-653.2. Ballots cast after normal close of polling hours due to court-ordered extension; provisional ballots.

Whenever the polling hours are extended by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, any ballots marked after the normal polling hours by persons who were not already in line at the time the polls would have closed, notwithstanding the court order, shall be treated as provisional ballots under this section. The officers of election shall mark the green envelope for each such provisional ballot to indicate that it was cast after normal polling hours due to the court order, and when preparing the materials to deliver to the registrar or electoral board, shall separate these provisional ballots from any provisional ballots used for any other reason. The electoral board shall treat these provisional ballots as provided in § 24.2-653.01; however, the counted and uncounted provisional ballots marked after the normal polling hours shall be kept separate from all other ballots and recorded in a separate provisional ballots pollbook. The Department of Elections shall provide instructions to the electoral boards for the handling and counting of such provisional ballots pursuant to this section.

2020, c. 735.

§ 24.2-653.3. Voters assigned to split precinct; provisional ballots.

A. Any voter who is assigned to a precinct that is split between two or more election districts and believes he was given a ballot for the district of which he is not a qualified voter may request, prior to casting the ballot, and shall be permitted to cast a provisional ballot for the district of which he believes he is a qualified voter and for the district in which the pollbook indicates he is registered. The provisional ballots shall be cast in accordance with the provisions of § 24.2-653, except that the voter shall be given a printed ballot for the district of which he believes he is a qualified voter and for the district in which the pollbook indicates he is registered, and an envelope for each ballot, which shall be labeled with the corresponding district number. After marking each printed ballot, the voter shall seal each ballot in its corresponding envelope, and the ballot envelopes shall then be sealed in the green envelope provided for in § 24.2-653.

B. At the meeting of the electoral board to determine the validity of all provisional ballots offered in the election, the electoral board shall verify in which district a voter who voted provisionally pursuant to this section is a qualified voter, and the provisional ballot cast by the voter for that district shall be counted. The electoral board shall process the ballot in accordance with the provisions of § 24.2-653.01 and the instructions of the State Board.

2020, c. 920, § 24.2-653.2.

§ 24.2-654. Officers to lock and seal voting equipment and ascertain vote after polls closed; statement of results.

As soon as the polls are closed, the officers of election shall lock each voting and counting machine against further voting. They shall then proceed to ascertain the vote given at the election and continue without adjournment until they declare the results of the election. They shall seal the machines.

In ascertaining the vote, the officers of election shall complete a statement of results in duplicate on the form and in the manner prescribed by the State Board.

Code 1950, §§ 24-258, 24-259, 24-312; 1966, c. 453; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-136, 24.1-222; 1974, c. 428; 1979, c. 329; 1981, c. 425; 1983, c. 461; 1985, c. 458; 1993, c. 641; 2014, cc. 540, 576.

§ 24.2-655. Representatives of political parties and candidates to be present on request.

Before proceeding to ascertain the vote, the officers of election shall determine whether no more than two representatives of each political party having candidates in the election and one representative of each independent candidate or primary candidate request to be present while the absentee ballots are cast, votes are counted, and returns are completed.

Each representative shall be a qualified voter of any jurisdiction in the Commonwealth and shall present to the officers of election a written statement certifying that he is an authorized representative, signed by his party chairman for the jurisdiction in which the election is held, the independent candidate, or the candidate in a primary, as appropriate. If the party chairman for the jurisdiction in which the election is held is unavailable to sign such a written designation, such a designation may be made by the state or district chairman of the political party. However, no written designation made by a state or district chairman shall take precedence over a written designation made by the party chairman for the jurisdiction in which the election is held. Such representatives shall be entitled to be present while the votes are counted and shall remain until the returns are completed.

In case such representatives, or any of them, do not request to be present, the officers shall notify the bystanders, if any, and select one or more to be present with any available representatives of the parties or candidates so that there are as many as four bystanders and representatives present.

The representatives and bystanders lawfully present shall have an unobstructed view of the officers of election and their actions while the absentee ballots are cast, votes are counted, and returns are completed. The representatives and bystanders lawfully present are prohibited from interfering with the officers of election in any way.

Code 1950, §§ 24-260, 24-261; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-137; 1974, c. 428; 1993, c. 641; 2006, c. 177; 2010, c. 448; 2015, c. 133.

§ 24.2-656. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2003, c. 1015.

§ 24.2-657. Determination of vote on voting systems.

In the presence of all persons who may be present lawfully at the time, giving full view of the voting systems or printed return sheets, the officers of election shall determine and announce the results as shown by the counters or printed return sheets, including the votes recorded for each office on the write-in ballots, and shall also announce the vote on every question. The vote as registered shall be entered on the statement of results. When completed, the statement shall be compared with the number on the counters on the equipment or on the printed return sheets. If, on any ballot scanner, the number of persons voting in the election, or the number of votes cast for any office or on any question, totals more than the number of names on the pollbooks of persons voting on the machines, then the figures recorded by the machines shall be accepted as correct. A statement to that effect shall be entered by the officers of election in the space provided on the statement of results.

Code 1950, § 24-312; 1966, c. 453; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-222; 1974, c. 428; 1979, c. 329; 1981, c. 425; 1983, c. 461; 1985, c. 458; 1993, c. 641; 2014, cc. 540, 576; 2016, c. 464.

§ 24.2-658. Machines with printed return sheets; disposition of sheets.

If machines that print returns are used, the printed inspection sheet and two copies of the printed return sheet containing the results of the election for each machine shall be inserted in the envelope containing the statement of results by the officers of election and sealed and returned as required by § 24.2-668.

The printed inspection sheets and one copy of the printed return sheets shall be kept with the statement of results and preserved as provided in § 24.2-669.

One copy of the printed return sheets shall be made available by the clerk of the circuit court on the day following the election and for 60 additional days for inspection and transcribing information therefrom by the public.

1981, c. 425, § 24.1-222.1; 1985, c. 458; 1993, c. 641; 2014, cc. 540, 576.

§ 24.2-659. Locking voting systems after election and delivering keys to clerk; printed returns as evidence.

A. If the voting system is secured by the use of equipment keys, after the officers of election lock and seal each machine, the equipment keys shall be enclosed in an envelope that shall be sealed and have endorsed thereon a certificate of an officer of election stating the election precinct, the number of each machine, the number on the seal, and the number of the protective counter, if one, on the machine. The sealed envelope shall be delivered by one of the officers of the election to the clerk of the circuit court where the election was held. The custodians of the voting equipment shall enclose and seal in an envelope, properly endorsed, all other keys to all voting equipment in their jurisdictions and deliver the envelope to the clerk of the circuit court by noon on the day following the election.

B. If the voting systems are secured by the use of equipment keys or electronic activation devices that are not specific to a particular machine, after the officers of election lock and seal each machine, the equipment keys and electronic activation devices shall be enclosed in an envelope that shall be sealed and have endorsed thereon a certificate of an officer of election stating the election precinct. The sealed envelope shall be delivered by one of the officers of election to the clerk of the circuit court where the election was held.

C. If the voting system is secured by removal of the data storage device used in that election, the officers shall remove the data storage device and proceed to lock and seal each machine. The data storage device shall be enclosed in an envelope that shall be sealed and have endorsed thereon a certificate of an officer of election stating the election precinct, the number of each machine, the number on the seal, and the number of the protective counter, if one, on the machine. The sealed envelope shall be delivered by one of the officers of election to the clerk of the circuit court where the election was held. The equipment keys used at the polls shall be sealed in a different envelope and delivered to the clerk who shall release them to the general registrar upon request or at the expiration of the time specified by subsection F.

D. If the voting system provides for the creation of a separate master electronic back-up on a data storage device that combines the data for all of the voting systems in a given precinct, that data storage device shall be enclosed in an envelope that shall be sealed and have endorsed thereon a certificate of an officer of election stating the name of the precinct. The sealed envelope shall be delivered by one of the officers of election to the clerk of the circuit court where the election was held. The data storage device for the individual machines may remain sealed in its individual machine until the expiration of the time specified by subsection F. The equipment keys and the electronic activation devices used at the polls shall be sealed together in a separate envelope and delivered to the clerk who shall release them to the general registrar upon request or at the expiration of the time specified by subsection F.

E. If the voting system is secured by removal of the data storage device used in that election, and the only record of votes cast for any office or on any question is saved on that data storage device and not on the machine itself, the officers shall remove the data storage device and proceed to lock and seal each machine. Each such machine shall remain locked and sealed until it is returned to the site at which voting systems are stored in the locality. The data storage device shall be enclosed in an envelope that shall be sealed and have endorsed thereon a certificate of an officer of election stating the election precinct, the number of each machine, the number on the seal, and the number of the protective counter, if one, on the machine. The sealed envelope shall be delivered by one of the officers of election to the clerk of the circuit court where the election was held. The equipment keys used at the polls shall be sealed in a different envelope and delivered to the general registrar no later than noon on the day after the election.

F. The voting systems described in subsections A, B, C, and D shall remain locked and sealed until the deadline to request a recount under Chapter 8 (§ 24.2-800 et seq.) has passed and, if any contest or recount is pending thereafter, until it has been concluded. Such machines and any envelope containing data storage devices shall be opened and all data examined only (i) on the order of a court of competent jurisdiction or (ii) on the request of an authorized representative of the State Board, or the electoral board or general registrar at the direction of the State Board, in order to ensure the accuracy of the returns. In the event that machines and data storage devices are examined under clause (ii), each political party and each independent candidate on the ballot, or each primary candidate, shall be entitled to have a representative present during such examination. The representatives and observers lawfully present shall be prohibited from interfering with the officers of election in any way. The State Board, local electoral board, or general registrar shall provide such parties and candidates reasonable advance notice of the examination.

When the required time has expired, the clerk of the circuit court shall return all voting equipment keys and data storage devices to the general registrar.

G. The local electoral board or general registrar may direct the officers of election and custodians that any sealed equipment keys or data storage devices that are otherwise required by the provisions of this section to be delivered to the clerk of the circuit court shall instead be delivered to the principal office of the general registrar no later than noon on the day following the election. The general registrar shall secure and retain the sealed equipment keys and any other electronic locking or activation devices in his office and shall convey them to the clerk of the court by noon on the day following the ascertainment of the results of the election by the electoral board.

H. The provisions of this section requiring the locking and sealing of voting systems shall not apply to any ballot marking device and its data storage device provided pursuant to § 24.2-626.1, where the number of persons voting in the election or the number of votes cast for any office or on any question are not recorded by the ballot marking device.

Code 1950, § 24-314; 1962, c. 230; 1966, c. 453; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-224; 1974, c. 428; 1978, c. 778; 1985, c. 458; 1993, c. 641; 1995, c. 197; 2003, c. 1015; 2004, cc. 835, 993, 1010; 2006, c. 689; 2008, cc. 107, 385; 2014, cc. 540, 576; 2016, cc. 18, 218, 464, 489, 492.

§ 24.2-660. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2004, cc. 993 and 1010.

§ 24.2-661. Detection and setting aside of double ballots.

After the votes on all voting and counting equipment have been determined and recorded, the officers of election shall proceed to examine and count the paper ballots to ascertain if any double ballots have been cast, and whether the number of ballots corresponds with the number of names on the pollbooks of persons who voted on paper ballots. If two or more separate ballots are found so folded together as to represent the appearance of a single ballot they shall be laid aside until the count of the ballots is completed. If, upon a comparison of the count and the number of names of such qualified voters on the pollbooks, it appears that the two or more ballots thus folded together were cast by the same qualified voter, they shall be set aside and not counted.

Code 1950, §§ 24-262, 24-313; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-138, 24.1-223; 1983, c. 461; 1985, c. 458; 1993, c. 641.

§ 24.2-662. Procedure when paper ballots exceed names on pollbooks.

If the ballots in the container exceed the number of names on the pollbooks of persons who voted on paper ballots, all ballots shall be replaced in the ballot container. Then, after the container is well shaken, an officer of election, being blindfolded, shall withdraw a sufficient number of ballots to reduce the number of ballots left in the container to the number of such names on the pollbooks. The drawn ballots shall be set aside and not counted.

Code 1950, § 24-263; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-139; 1983, c. 461; 1993, c. 641; 2003, c. 1015.

§ 24.2-663. When ballot void.

If a printed ballot is found to have been voted for a greater number of names for any one office than the number of persons required to fill the office, or if the title of the office is erased, the ballot shall be considered void as to all the names designated to fill such office, but no further, and the ballot shall be counted for the other offices on the ballot. In the case of a ballot scanner machine, an election official is authorized to cause the ballot scanner to receive the ballot and count it in accordance with this section. No ballot shall be void for having been voted for fewer names than authorized.

If any person votes, either in person or absentee, more than one time in an election, all ballots received from such person shall be void and, if possible, not counted. If one such ballot has already been cast, any additional ballots received from such person shall be void and not counted.

Code 1950, § 24-266; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-140; 1978, c. 778; 1993, c. 641; 2013, c. 469; 2014, cc. 540, 576.

§ 24.2-664. Reduction in number of ballots.

Whenever the number of ballots is reduced by fraudulent or void ballots below the number of names of qualified voters on the pollbooks who voted on paper ballots, the cause of such reduction shall be stated in the space provided on the statement of results.

Code 1950, § 24-624; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-141; 1981, c. 425; 1983, c. 461; 1993, c. 641.

§ 24.2-665. How paper ballots counted.

A. When the number of paper ballots to be counted has been verified, the officers shall proceed to ascertain the number of votes cast by paper ballots for each person and for and against each question. The votes on all ballots for all offices and questions shall be counted. As soon as all ballots are counted, they shall be placed in an envelope or container labeled "counted ballots." No person other than the officers of the election shall handle the ballots.

B. Only an official ballot prepared as provided for in this title shall be counted. If any unofficial ballot is found among the official ballots, the unofficial ballot shall be put aside, not counted and appropriately noted on the statement of results.

Code 1950, §§ 24-246, 24-265; 1950, p. 165; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-142; 1981, c. 425; 1993, c. 641.

§ 24.2-666. Procedures to account for paper ballots.

The State Board shall prescribe appropriate forms and procedures for use by the local electoral boards, general registrars, and officers of election to account for all paper ballots, used and unused.

1988, cc. 291, 318, § 24.1-143.1; 1993, c. 641.

§ 24.2-667. Completion of statement of results.

At the conclusion of determining the votes cast on voting devices and paper ballots, the officers of election shall verify that all required data has been accurately entered, sign both copies of the statement of results, and affirm that the statement is complete and the information thereon is true and correct.

Code 1950, §§ 24-246, 24-265, 24-312; 1950, p. 165; 1966, c. 453; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-142, 24.1-222; 1974, c. 428; 1979, c. 329; 1981, c. 425; 1983, c. 461; 1985, c. 458; 1993, c. 641.

§ 24.2-668. Pollbooks, statements of results, and ballots to be sealed and delivered to clerk or general registrar.

A. After ascertaining the results and before adjourning, the officers shall put the pollbooks, the duplicate statements of results, and any printed inspection and return sheets in the envelopes provided by the State Board. The officers shall seal the envelopes and direct them to the clerk of the circuit court for the county or city. The pollbooks, statements, and sheets thus sealed and directed, the sealed counted ballots envelope or container, and the unused, defaced, spoiled and set aside ballots properly accounted for, packaged and sealed, shall be conveyed by one of the officers to be determined by lot, if they cannot otherwise agree, to the clerk of court by noon on the day following the election.

The clerk shall retain custody of the pollbooks, printed ballots, and other elections materials until the time has expired for initiating a recount, contest, or other proceeding in which the pollbooks, printed ballots, and other elections materials may be needed as evidence and there is no proceeding pending. The clerk shall (i) secure all pollbooks, printed ballots and other election materials in sealed boxes; (ii) place all of the sealed boxes in a vault or room not open to the public or to anyone other than the clerk and his staff; (iii) cause such vault or room to be securely locked except when access is necessary for the clerk and his staff; and (iv) upon the initiation of a recount, certify that these security measures have been taken in whatever form is deemed appropriate by the chief judge.

After that time the clerk shall deliver the pollbooks to the general registrar who shall return the pollbooks or transfer a copy of the electronic data to the State Board as directed by § 24.2-114 for voting credit purposes. After the pollbooks are returned by the State Board, the general registrar shall retain the pollbooks in his principal office for two years from the date of the election. The clerk shall retain the statement of results and any printed inspection and return sheets for two years and may then destroy them.

B. The local electoral board or general registrar may direct that the officers of election, in lieu of conveying the materials to the clerk of the circuit court as provided in subsection A, shall convey the materials to the principal office of the general registrar on the night of the election or the morning following the election as the board directs. The general registrar shall secure and retain the materials in his office and shall convey to the clerk of the court, by noon of the day following the ascertainment of the results of the election by the electoral board, all of the election materials. The general registrar shall retain for public inspection one copy of the statement of results.

C. If an electronic pollbook is used, the data disc or cartridge containing the electronic records of the election, or, alternately, a printed copy of the pollbook records of those who voted, shall be transmitted, sealed and retained as required by this section, and otherwise treated as the pollbook for that election for all purposes subsequent to the election. Nothing in this title shall be construed to require that the equipment or software used to produce the electronic pollbook be sealed or retained along with the pollbook, provided that the records for the election have been transferred or printed according to the instructions of the State Board.

Code 1950, §§ 24-232, 24-267, 24-268, 24-270; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-143, 24.1-144; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 247; 1972, c. 620; 1973, c. 30; 1975, c. 515; 1978, c. 778; 1981, c. 425; 1992, c. 293; 1993, c. 641; 1995, c. 197; 1996, c. 8; 1997, cc. 438, 456; 2002, c. 190; 2003, c. 1015; 2004, cc. 410, 835; 2007, c. 285; 2016, cc. 18, 492; 2020, c. 294.

§ 24.2-669. Clerk to keep ballots; inspection; destruction.

The clerk to whom the counted and uncounted ballots are delivered shall, without breaking the seal, deposit them in a secure place in his office, where they shall be kept for the time required by this section. He shall not allow the ballots to be inspected except (i) by an authorized representative of the State Board or by the electoral board at the direction of the State Board to ensure the accuracy of the returns or the purity of the election, (ii) by the officers of election, and then only at the direction of the electoral board in accordance with § 24.2-672 when the provisions of § 24.2-662 have not been followed, (iii) on the order of a court before which there is pending a proceeding for a contest or recount under Chapter 8 (§ 24.2-800 et seq.) of this title or before whom there is then pending a proceeding in which the ballots are necessary for use in evidence, or (iv) for the purpose of conducting an audit as part of a post-election pilot program pursuant to § 24.2-671.1. In the event that ballots are inspected under clause (i), (ii), or (iv) of this paragraph, each political party and each independent candidate on the ballot, or each primary candidate, shall be entitled to have a representative present during such inspection. The representatives and observers lawfully present shall be prohibited from interfering with the officers of election in any way. The State Board or local electoral board shall provide such parties and candidates reasonable advance notice of the inspection.

After the counted ballots for a federal election have remained in the clerk's office for two years, if no election contest or other proceeding is pending in which such ballots may be needed as evidence, the clerk shall destroy such ballots. After the counted ballots for any other election have remained in the clerk's office for one year, if no election contest or other proceeding is pending in which such ballots may be needed as evidence, the clerk shall destroy such ballots. After the unused ballots have remained in the clerk's office and the time has expired for initiating a recount, contest, or other proceeding in which such ballots may be needed as evidence and no such contest or proceeding is pending, the clerk may then destroy the unused ballots other than punchcard ballots, which shall be returned to the electoral board.

Code 1950, §§ 24-268, 24-270; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-144; 1973, c. 30; 1975, c. 515; 1978, c. 778; 1981, c. 425; 1992, c. 293; 1993, c. 641; 1998, c. 270; 2003, c. 1015; 2006, c. 689; 2008, c. 565.

§ 24.2-670. Clerk to send for books and ballots if not delivered by officers.

If the officers of election fail to deliver the materials to the clerk of the circuit court, or to the principal office of the general registrar, as required by § 24.2-668 before the time for the electoral board to meet and open the returns, the clerk of the circuit court shall dispatch, to obtain such returns, a law-enforcement officer, who shall be subject to the same penalties and entitled to the same compensation as an officer of election for such service.

Code 1950, § 24-269; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-145; 1993, c. 641; 1995, c. 197.

§ 24.2-671. Electoral board to meet and ascertain results; conclusiveness of results.

Each electoral board shall meet at the clerk's or general registrar's office of the county or city for which they are appointed at or before 5:00 p.m. on the day after any election. The board may adjourn to another room of sufficient size in a public building to ascertain the results, and may adjourn as needed, not to exceed seven calendar days from the date of the election. Written directions to the location of any room other than the clerk's or general registrar's office where the board will meet shall be posted at the doors of the clerk's and general registrar's offices prior to the beginning of the meeting.

The board shall open the returns delivered by the officers.

If the electoral board has exercised the option provided by § 24.2-668 for delivery of the election materials to the office of the general registrar on the night of the election, the electoral board shall meet at the office of the general registrar at or before 5:00 p.m. on the day after any election.

The board shall ascertain from the returns the total votes in the county or city, or town in a town election, for each candidate and for and against each question and complete the abstract of votes cast at such election, as provided for in § 24.2-675. For any office in which no person was elected by write-in votes, and for which the total number of write-in votes for that office is less than (i) 10 percent of the total number of votes cast for that office and (ii) the total number of votes cast for the candidate receiving the most votes, the electoral board shall ascertain the total votes for each write-in candidate for the office within one week following the election. For offices for which the electoral board issues the certificate of election, the result so ascertained, signed and attested, shall be conclusive and shall not thereafter be subject to challenge except as specifically provided in Chapter 8 (§ 24.2-800 et seq.) of this title.

Once the result is so ascertained, the secretary of the electoral board shall deliver one copy of each statement of results to the general registrar to be available for inspection when his office is open for business. The secretary shall then return all pollbooks, any printed inspection and return sheets, and one copy of each statement of results to the clerk.

Beginning with the general election in November 2007, a report of any changes made by the local electoral board to the unofficial results ascertained by the officers of election or any subsequent change to the official abstract of votes made by the local electoral board shall be forwarded to the State Board of Elections and the explanation of such change shall be posted on the State Board website.

Each political party and each independent candidate on the ballot, or each primary candidate, shall be entitled to have representatives present when the local electoral board meets to ascertain the results of the election. Each such party and candidate shall be entitled to have at least as many representatives present as there are teams of officials working to ascertain the results, and the room in which the local electoral board meets shall be of sufficient size and configuration to allow the representatives reasonable access and proximity to view the ballots as the teams of officials work to ascertain the results. The representatives and observers lawfully present shall be prohibited from interfering with the officials in any way.

Code 1950, §§ 24-271, 24-272; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-146; 1973, c. 30; 1981, c. 425; 1991, c. 388; 1992, c. 329; 1993, c. 641; 1996, cc. 8, 223; 2003, c. 1015; 2005, c. 824; 2006, c. 689; 2014, c. 486; 2018, c. 536.

§ 24.2-671.1. Audits of ballot scanner machines.

A. The Department of Elections shall coordinate a post-election risk-limiting audit annually of ballot scanner machines in use in the Commonwealth. The localities selected for the audit shall be chosen at random with every locality participating in the Department's annual audit at least once during a five-year period. The purpose of the audits shall be to study the accuracy of ballot scanner machines.

B. No audit conducted pursuant to this section shall commence until after the election has been certified and the period to initiate a recount has expired without the initiation of a recount. An audit shall have no effect on the election results.

C. All audits conducted pursuant to this section shall be performed by the local electoral boards and general registrars in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the Department. The procedures established by the Department shall include its procedures for conducting hand counts of ballots. Candidates and political parties may have representatives observe the audits.

D. The local electoral boards shall report the results of the audit of the ballot scanner machines in their jurisdiction to the Department. At the conclusion of each audit, the Department shall submit a report to the State Board. The report shall include a comparison of the audited election results and the initial tally for each machine audited and an analysis of any detected discrepancies.

2008, c. 565; 2014, cc. 540, 576; 2017, c. 367.

§ 24.2-672. Electoral board to correct irregularities in returns of officers of election.

While ascertaining the results of an election, the electoral board may find that there are irregularities or informalities in the returns of the officers of election which can be cured by amending or correcting the returns. Then the board immediately shall summon, to appear before the board on the date of the summons or the next date thereafter, the officers of elections required to amend the returns so that the same may conform to the law. The summons may be executed by any person authorized by law to serve summonses for witnesses.

Code 1950, § 24-275; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-147; 1992, c. 329; 1993, c. 641.

§ 24.2-673. Candidates having highest number of votes to receive certificate of election.

Except in the case of a recount pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 8 (§ 24.2-800 et seq.) of this title, in all elections for the choice of any officer, unless it is otherwise expressly provided, the person having the highest number of votes for any office shall be deemed to have been elected to such office and shall receive the certificate of election.

Code 1950, § 24-276; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-148; 1993, c. 641.

§ 24.2-673.1. (Effective July 1, 2021; expires July 1, 2031) Ranked choice voting.

A. For purposes of this section:

"Ranked choice voting" means a method of casting and tabulating votes in which (i) voters rank candidates in order of preference, (ii) tabulation proceeds in rounds such that in each of round either a candidate or candidates are elected or the last-place candidate is defeated, (iii) votes for voters' next-ranked candidates are transferred from elected or defeated candidates, and (iv) tabulation ends when the number of candidates elected equals the number of offices to be filled. "Ranked choice voting" is known as "instant runoff voting" when electing a single office and "single transferable vote" when electing multiple offices.

"Ranking" means the ordinal number assigned on a ballot by a voter to a candidate to express the voter's preference for that candidate. Ranking number one is the highest ranking, ranking number two is the next-highest ranking, and so on, consecutively, up to the number of candidates indicated on the ballot.

B. Elections of members of a county board of supervisors or a city council may be conducted by ranked choice voting pursuant to this section. The decision to conduct an election by ranked choice voting shall be made, in consultation with the local electoral board and general registrar, by a majority vote of the board of supervisors or city council that the office being elected serves.

C. The State Board may promulgate regulations for the proper and efficient administration of elections determined by ranked choice voting, including (i) procedures for tabulating votes in rounds, (ii) procedures for determining winners in elections for offices to which only one candidate is being elected and to which more than one candidate is being elected, and (iii) standards for ballots pursuant to § 24.2-613, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection E of that section.

D. The State Board may administer or prescribe standards for a voter outreach and public information program for use by any locality conducting ranked choice voting pursuant to this section.

2020, c. 1054.

§ 24.2-674. Determination by lot in case of tie.

If, prior to a recount, two or more persons have an equal number of votes for any county, city, town, or district office, and a higher number than any other person, the electoral board shall proceed publicly to determine by lot which of the candidates shall be declared elected.

If, prior to a recount, any two or more persons have an equal number of votes and a higher number than any other person for member of the General Assembly or of the Congress of the United States, or if any two or more persons have an equal number of votes and a higher number than any other person for elector of President and Vice President of the United States, the State Board of Elections shall proceed publicly to determine by lot which of them shall be declared elected. Reasonable notice shall be given to such candidates of the time when such elections shall be so determined; and if they, or either of them, shall fail to appear in accordance with such notice, the Board shall proceed so as to determine the election in their absence.

Any person who loses the determination by lot may petition for a recount pursuant to Article 1 (§ 24.2-800 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of this title.

Code 1950, §§ 24-277, 24-290; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-149; 1993, c. 641; 2020, c. 500.

§ 24.2-675. Abstracts of votes to be made by secretary and forwarded to State Board and to clerks.

As soon as the electoral board determines the persons who have received the highest number of votes for any office, the secretary shall make out an abstract of the votes for each of the following: Governor; Lieutenant Governor; Attorney General; members of the Senate of Virginia; members of the House of Delegates; members of the United States Senate; members of the United States House of Representatives; electors of the President and Vice President of the United States; each county office; each city office; each district office; each town office; and such others as may be required for statewide referenda. The abstracts shall contain the names of all persons receiving any vote for each office and the total number of votes received by each person or for or against each question. However, if no person was elected by write-in votes and the total number of write-in votes for any office is less than (i) 10 percent of the total number of votes cast for that office and (ii) the total number of votes cast for the candidate receiving the most votes, the abstract shall contain only the total number of write-in votes and not the number of write-in votes for each person receiving write-in votes.

The abstracts shall be certified and signed by the electoral board, attested by the secretary, and retained by the electoral board as part of its records. A copy of each, certified under the official seal of the electoral board, shall immediately be mailed or delivered by hand to the State Board. The State Board shall require the electoral board of any county or city to correct any errors found on such abstracts prior to completing the requirements of § 24.2-679.

One certified copy of each abstract of votes shall be forwarded (i) to the clerk of the city council or board of supervisors and recorded in its record book, (ii) for town elections, to the clerk of the town council and recorded in its minute book, and (iii) for each local referendum, to the circuit court for the locality.

Code 1950, §§ 24-278 through 24-280; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-150; 1972, c. 620; 1975, c. 515; 1976, c. 616; 1981, c. 425; 1993, c. 641; 1996, c. 223; 2003, c. 1015; 2018, c. 536.

§ 24.2-676. Secretary to make out and deliver certificate of election.

Immediately after the electoral board has determined the election results, the secretary shall make out certificates of election for each county, city, town, or district office other than an office shared by more than one county or city, or any combination thereof. The secretary shall make out the certificate for each of the persons who has the highest number of votes for the office, who has sufficient votes to be elected to a multi-member office, or, in case of a tie, who has been decided by lot to be elected. The secretary, or another board member or registrar designated by the secretary, shall deliver in person or the secretary shall transmit by certified mail the certificate to the person elected, as soon as such person has complied with the provisions of § 24.2-948.2.

Code 1950, § 24-282; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-151; 1972, c. 620; 1975, c. 515; 1980, c. 639; 1983, c. 264; 1993, c. 641; 2006, cc. 787, 892.

§ 24.2-677. State Board to open and record returns; application of Freedom of Information Act.

The State Board, on receipt of the certified abstracts of the votes given in the several counties and cities, shall open the abstracts and record and carefully preserve them.

The provisions of Chapter 37 (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.) of Title 2.2, the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, shall not apply to the certified abstracts of the votes or any other documents used by the Board in ascertaining the results of any election until the results have been finally determined by the Board.

Code 1950, § 24-283; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-152; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 206; 1975, c. 515; 1980, c. 639; 1993, c. 641.

§ 24.2-678. Law-enforcement officer to be sent for abstracts not forwarded.

If the State Board has not received the abstracts of votes from any county or city within seven days after any election, it shall dispatch a law-enforcement officer to obtain a copy of the abstract from the official having charge thereof. That official shall immediately, on demand of the officer, make out and deliver to him the copy required, and the officer shall deliver the abstract to the State Board without delay.

Code 1950, § 24-284; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-153; 1993, c. 641.

§ 24.2-679. State Board to meet and make statement as to number of votes.

A. The State Board shall meet on the third Monday in November to ascertain the results of the November election. If a majority of the Board is not present or if, for any other reason, the Board is unable to ascertain the results on that day, the meeting shall stand adjourned from day to day for not more than three days until a quorum is present and the Board has ascertained the results as provided in this section.

The Board shall examine the certified abstracts on file in its office and make statements of the whole number of votes given at any such election for members of the General Assembly, Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, members of the United States Congress and electors of President and Vice President of the United States, and any officer shared by more than one county or city, or any combination thereof, or for so many of such officers as have been voted for at the election.

The statement shall show, for each office and each county, city, and election district, the whole number of votes given to each candidate and to any other person elected to office. The Board members shall certify the statements to be correct and sign the statements. The Board shall then determine those persons who received the greatest number of votes and have been duly elected to each office. The Board members shall endorse and subscribe on such statements a certificate of their determination. The Board shall record each certified statement and determination in a suitable book to be kept by it in its office.

B. The State Board shall meet as soon as possible after it receives the returns for any special election held at a time other than the November general election to ascertain the results of the special election in the manner prescribed in subsection A. If the returns have not been received within seven days of the election, the Board shall meet and adjourn from day to day until it receives the returns, ascertains the results, and makes its determination.

Code 1950, §§ 24-285, 24-286, 24-287, 24-289; 1958, c. 605; 1962, c. 536; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-154, 24.1-155; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 206; 1974, c. 428; 1980, c. 639; 1983, c. 461; 1993, c. 641; 2015, c. 740.

§ 24.2-680. Certificates of election.

Subject to the requirements of § 24.2-948.2, the State Board shall without delay complete and transmit to each of the persons declared to be elected a certificate of his election, certified by it under its seal of office. In the election of a member of the United States Congress, it shall also forward a certificate of election to the clerk of the United States Senate or House of Representatives, as appropriate. The names of members elected to the General Assembly shall be certified by the State Board to the clerk of the House of Delegates or Senate, as appropriate. The names of the persons elected Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General shall be certified by the State Board to the clerks of the House of Delegates and Senate. The name of any officer shared by more than one county or city, or any combination thereof, shall be certified by the State Board to the clerk of the circuit court having jurisdiction in each affected county or city. The names of the persons elected to soil and water conservation districts shall be certified by the State Board to the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Code 1950, §§ 24-287, 24-289; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-155; 1974, c. 428; 1980, c. 639; 1983, c. 461; 1993, c. 641; 2001, c. 53; 2006, cc. 787, 892.