Voting in Virginia

Voting in Virginia 1

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VA House passes redistricting reform measure
Virginia Mercury, March 6, 2020 (Short)

Virginia House passes redistricting reform measure, sending constitutional amendment to voters

For the better part of a decade, many Virginia Democrats, some Republicans and anti-gerrymandering advocates have pushed to take away the General Assembly’s constitutionally derived power to draw political maps and give it to an outside commission.

After the House of Delegates voted 54-46 Thursday to approve a constitutional amendment creating that commission, Virginia voters will get to decide whether they agree, just in time to change the system for the 2021 redistricting process. After several days of tense closed-door caucus meetings, nine House Democrats joined with 45 Republicans to approve the measure.

If Virginia voters give it final approval in a November ballot referendum, the commission will be formed to redraw the state’s General Assembly and congressional districts next year using new census data.

But the commission concept that won bipartisan approval in the General Assembly for the second year in a row did so over strong objections from some black lawmakers who said their concerns were ignored in a rush to embrace a flawed proposal. If the House had rejected the proposal, Democrats who won control of the General Assembly last year would have had the final say over the next redistricting process.

Absentee Voting
Department of Elections (Short)

Both the May General/Special Elections and the June Primary dates have changed per the Governor’s Executive Order 56 and Executive Order 59. The Virginia Department of Elections encourages voters to protect their health during COVID-19 outbreak.

Voting absentee in the coming May and June elections is strongly encouraged. Voters may choose reason “2A My disability or illness” for absentee voting in the May and June 2020 elections due to COVID-19. Voters who choose the absentee option should do so as soon as possible so they can get their ballots in time to return them by mail by Election Day. Apply online for a Virginia absentee ballot.

Summary

Federal & state offices on the ballot: President, US Senator and 11 US House members

Ballot referendum: Constitutional amendment to create Redistricting Commission

The  independent Virginia State Board of Elections ensures uniformity, fairness, accuracy and purity in all elections in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

About

Source: Wikipedia

All voters are encouraged to vote mail ballots. Virginia law requires a reason to vote absentee, however, state officials have determined that COVID-19 is a valid reason for everyone to vote absentee, even if they are not ill. All voters are encouraged to apply online for their absentee ballot and to use reason 2A on the form (2A covers disability or illness and does not require documentation

ALERT: Due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), the May 5th election has been moved to May 19th and the June 9th Primary election has been moved to June 23. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for the May 19th election is May 12th.

Contact

Email: VA Board of Elections

Locations

VA Board of Elections
Washington Building, First Floor
1100 Bank Street, Richmond 23219
Phone: (800) 552-9745

Web

Government website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube

Videos

Voter Registration Video

Registering to Vote

Source: Rock the Vote

Who Can Register In Virginia

To register to vote in Virginia, you must:
– Be a U.S. citizen
– Be a resident of Virginia (a person who has come to Virginia for temporary purposes and intends to return to another state is not considered a resident for voting purposes)
– Be at least 18 years old (any person who is 17 years old and will be eighteen years of age at the next general election shall be permitted to register in advance and also vote in any intervening primary or special election)
– Not have been currently declared mentally incompetent by a court of law
– Not have been convicted of a felony, or if convicted of a felony, your right to vote must have been restored
– Not be registered and plan to vote in another state

You must register to vote at least 22 days before the election you wish to vote in.

Virginia Election Day Registration

Virginia does not offer Election Day registration, so be sure to submit your voter registration before the deadline.

Pre-registration

You can pre-register to vote in Virginia if you will turn 18 by the next election.

Voting Rights Restoration

Virginia doesn’t restore automatically the right to vote. If you have been convicted of a felony, you must apply to the governor for a restoration of your voting rights.

If you have a past conviction, learn more about your eligibility to vote here.

Registration status

Registration form

Voting

Where To Vote In Virginia

You can search for your polling place here.

Vote-by-mail & Absentee

Voters can only vote absentee in Virginia with an approved excuse.

Early Voting In Virginia

Virginia offers in-person absentee voting. Voters can only vote early with an approved excuse. Early voting begins 45 days and ends three days (Saturday) before the election.

Primary Elections In Virginia

Virginia has open primaries. Any registered voter can participate in primary elections, regardless of political party. 17-year-olds can vote in the primary election if they will be 18 by the corresponding general election.

Voter ID requirements

Photo ID is required to vote in Virginia. Valid forms of ID include:
– Valid Virginia Driver’s License or Identification Card
– Valid Virginia DMV issued Veteran’s ID card
– Valid United States Passport
– Other government-issued photo identification cards (must be issued by US Government, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a political subdivision of the Commonwealth)
– Tribal enrollment or other tribal ID issued by one of 11 tribes recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia
– Valid college or university student photo identification card (must be from an institution of higher education located in Virginia)
– Valid student ID issued by a public school or private school in Virginia displaying a photo
– 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

If you do not have an approved form of ID, you can apply for a free Virginia Voter Photo Identification from any general registrar’s office in the Commonwealth. Voters applying for the Virginia Voter Photo ID Card will have to complete the Virginia Voter Photo Identification Card Application, have their picture taken, and sign the digital signature pad. Once the application is processed, the card will be mailed directly to the voter.

If you go to your polling place without an approved form of ID, you can vote a provisional ballot. A voter will have until noon on the Friday following the election to deliver a copy of the identification to the local electoral board. Voters may submit a copy of their ID via fax, email, in-person submission, or through USPS or commercial delivery service. Please note that the copy of the ID must be delivered to the electoral board by noon on the Friday following the election, or the provisional ballot cannot be counted. A Friday postmark will not be sufficient if the copy of the ID is not delivered to the electoral board by noon on Friday.

Also by noon on Friday following the election, the voter may appear in-person in the office of the general registrar, in the locality in which the provisional ballot was cast, and apply for a Virginia Voter Photo ID Card. At the completion of the application process, the voter may request a Temporary Identification Document. This document may be provided to the electoral board to meet the needs of the identification requirement.

More voting information

Voting As A Student

Election Reminders Tool

Upcoming Elections & Deadlines

Source: League of Women Voters

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
PRIMARY
• Federal Primary (separate Republican and Democratic Primaries in some locations)
Registration Deadlines:

BY MAIL – Tuesday, May 26, 2020

IN PERSON – Tuesday, May 26, 2020

ONLINE   Get Registered!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020
GENERAL
Registration Deadlines:
BY MAIL – Monday, October 12, 2020
IN PERSON- Monday, October 12, 2020
ONLINE Get Registered!

Virginia State Board of Elections

The Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) was created in 1946 as a nonpolitical agency responsible for ensuring uniformity, fairness, accuracy and purity in all elections in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The SBE promotes the proper administration of election laws, campaign finance disclosure compliance, and voter registration processes in the state by promulgating rules, regulations, issuing instructions, and providing information to local electoral boards and general registrars. In addition, the SBE maintains a centralized database of statewide voter registration and election related data.

The SBE is a three-member body consisting of a chair, vice-chair, and secretary, that manages the electoral process and investigates and adjudicates disputes and campaign law violations. Under the Code of Virginia, “Two Board members shall be of the political party which cast the highest number of votes for Governor at that election.” The Board has power to promulgate rules to initiate Circuit Court proceedings for the removal of county and city electoral board members. It can call on the Attorney General of Virginia to initiate investigations. It also certifies independent and third-party candidates for the ballot, after sending their Petitions of Qualified Voters (nominating petitions) to local registrars for signature counting. The Board has power to prescribe such forms. It posts lists of candidates on the Internet.

State Board of Elections

Source: Board of Elections

The State Board of Elections is authorized to supervise, coordinate, and adopt regulations governing the work of local electoral boards, registrars, and officers of election; to provide electronic application for voter registration and delivery of absentee ballots to eligible military and overseas voters; to establish and maintain a statewide automated voter registration system to include procedures for ascertaining current addresses of registrants; to prescribe standard forms for registration, transfer and identification of voters; and to require cancellation of records for registrants no longer qualified. Code of VirginiaTitle 24.2, Chapters 14 and 4.1. The Department of Elections conducts the board’s administrative and programmatic operations and discharges the board’s duties consistent with delegated authority.

Commissioners

Christopher E. “Chris” Piper has been appointed as the Commissioner.

Commissioner, Virginia Department of Elections
Deputy Commissioner, Virginia Department of Elections

 

Litigation

Source: Wikipedia

The Virginia State Board of Elections has been a party in a number of lawsuits.

Sarvis v. Judd

In July 2014, The Rutherford Institute supported the Libertarian Party of Virginia and alleged Virginia ballot laws favored “the election chances of Democrat and Republican candidates at the expense of Libertarian Party and independent candidates.”

In Robert C. Sarvis, et al. v. Charles E. Judd, et al, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Libertarian Party of Virginia, several Libertarian Party candidates and an independent (non-party) candidate for public office in the November 2014 general election. The lawsuit challenged the Virginia State Board of Elections and the laws which require minor-party candidates to gather signatures on petitions to achieve ballot access as well as the laws which require minor-party and independent candidates’ names to be placed below those of major-party candidates on the ballot.

Libertarian Party of Virginia v. Judd

In 2013, the ACLU supported the Libertarian Party of Virginia, and contended that the Libertarians would suffer “irreparable harm” given Virginia’s ballot access laws.

In Libertarian Party of Virginia v. Judd, the Libertarian Party won the case regarding state residency requirements for petition circulators per the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on May 29, 2013. It was the first time a minor party had won a constitutional election law case in the Fourth Circuit since 1989 and 1988. In response to the Fourth Circuit’s ruling, the State of Virginia via former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as well as several other states, like Oklahoma, submitted petitions to the Supreme Court of the United States asking to reverse the Fourth Circuit’s decision. On December 2, 2013, the petitions against the Fourth Circuit’s ruling were denied by the Supreme Court, and so the Libertarian Party of Virginia won the case regarding state residency requirements for petition circulators.

Perry v. Judd

In January 2012, Texas Governor Rick Perry, former senator Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. failed to qualify for the ballot and sued the State Board of Elections. U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. denied the request to add their names to Virginia’s Republican primary ballot.

Project Vote v. Long

In February 2010, after receiving reports from local community partners regarding large numbers of rejected voter registration applications, Project Vote and its voting partner, Advancement Project, sought to review Norfolk’s rejected registration applications to ascertain if qualified persons were unlawfully kept off the voting rolls. Elisa Long, the general registrar of Norfolk, and Nancy Rodrigues, secretary of the State Board of Elections denied Project Vote and Advancement Project the right to review the records, and both groups filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia.

In July 2011, the Court granted Project Vote’s Motion for Summary Judgment and ordered the Norfolk County Registrar “to permit access to any requesting party for copy and/or inspection of voter registration applications and related records,” in compliance with public disclosure requirements under the National Voter Registration Act.

Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections

In Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966) the U.S. Supreme Court found that Virginia’s poll tax was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The 24th Amendment (1964) prohibited poll taxes in federal elections. However, five states continued to impose a poll tax for voters in state elections. By this ruling, the Supreme Court banned the use of a poll tax in state elections.

Ballot access

Source: Wikipedia

Virginia has one of the most restrictive set of ballot access laws in the United States. According to the Code of Virginia subsection 24.2-101, without “major party” status for automatic ballot access in Virginia, minor party and independent candidates have to gather petition signatures to get on the ballot. For example, the requirement for statewide elections is 10,000 signatures, including at least 400 from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts. In order for a minor party to gain automatic ballot access as a major party, one of its nominated candidates must receive 10% of the vote in a statewide race. To obtain the signatures necessary to receive statewide ballot access in Virginia, it has been quoted to cost between $45,000 to $90,000 or up to $100,000.

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