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Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > General Provisions And Administration

§ 24.2-103 Powers and duties in general

Overview of Statute

This section describes the duties and responsibilities of the State Board, electoral boards, and registrars. This section also prohibits Department of Elections staff from serving as party chairmen or campaign volunteers for any state candidate.

Statute

A. The State Board, through the Department of Elections, shall supervise and coordinate the work of the county and city electoral boards and of the registrars to obtain uniformity in their practices and proceedings and legality and purity in all elections. It shall make rules and regulations and issue instructions and provide information consistent with the election laws to the electoral boards and registrars to promote the proper administration of election laws. Electoral boards and registrars shall provide information requested by the State Board and shall follow (i) the elections laws and (ii) the rules and regulations of the State Board insofar as they do not conflict with Virginia or federal law. The State Board shall post on the Internet within three business days any rules or regulations made by the State Board. Upon request and at a reasonable charge not to exceed the actual cost incurred, the State Board shall provide to any requesting political party or candidate, within three days of the receipt of the request, copies of any instructions or information provided by the State Board to the local electoral boards and registrars.

B. The State Board, through the Department of Elections, shall ensure that the members of the electoral boards and general registrars are properly trained to carry out their duties by offering training annually, or more often, as it deems appropriate, and without charging any fees to the electoral boards and general registrars for the training. The State Board shall set the training standards for the officers of election and shall develop standardized training programs for the officers of election to be conducted by the local electoral boards and the general registrars. Training of the officers of election shall be conducted and certified as provided by § 24.2-115.2. The State Board shall provide standardized training materials for such training and shall also offer on the Department of Elections website a training course for officers of election. The content of the online training course shall be consistent with the standardized training programs developed pursuant to this section. The State Board shall review the standardized training materials and the content of the online training course every two years in the year immediately following a general election for federal office.
C. The State Board may institute proceedings pursuant to § 24.2-234 for the removal of any member of an electoral board who fails to discharge the duties of his office in accordance with law. The State Board may petition the local electoral board to remove from office any general registrar who fails to discharge the duties of his office according to law. The State Board may institute proceedings pursuant to § 24.2-234 for the removal of a general registrar if the local electoral board refuses to remove the general registrar and the State Board finds that the failure to remove the general registrar has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of either the registrar’s office or any election. Any action taken by the State Board pursuant to this subsection shall require a recorded majority vote of the Board.D. The State Board may petition a circuit court or the Supreme Court, whichever is appropriate, for a writ of mandamus or prohibition, or other available legal relief, for the purpose of ensuring that elections are conducted as provided by law.

E. The Department of Elections shall supervise its own staff to assure that no member of its staff shall serve (i) as the chairman of a political party or other officer of a state-, local-, or district-level political party committee or (ii) as a paid or volunteer worker in the campaign of a candidate for nomination or election to an office filled by election in whole or in part by the qualified voters of the Commonwealth.

F. The State Board shall adopt a seal for its use and bylaws for its own proceedings.

G. A telephone call between two members of the Board preparing for a meeting shall not constitute a meeting under the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.), provided that no discussion or deliberation takes place that would otherwise constitute a meeting.

Code 1950, §§ 24-24, 24-25, 24-345.10, 24-345.11; 1952, c. 509; 1956, c. 392; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-18, 24.1-19; 1973, c. 30; 1975, c. 515; 1977, c. 576; 1980, c. 728; 1984, c. 444; 1993, c. 641; 1999, c. 861; 2004, cc. 27, 391; 2006, c. 760; 2009, c. 407; 2010, cc. 347, 769; 2013, cc. 525, 542; 2016, cc. 752, 766.

Annotation: 03/24/2016 10:22 pm

A majority of the State Board of Elections at its meeting on January 8, 2016, voted to institute proceedings to remove a member of the Prince William County Electoral Board. This member’s term expired and a new member was appointed by the Supreme Court of VIrginia after the local circuit judges recused themselves.

Annotation: 03/04/2016 5:14 pm

A primary purpose of the Board under Title 24.2 is to ensure uniform practices and proceedings in elections in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Uniform application of the law and procedure is an important part of the Supreme Court’s equal protection discussion in Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 527 (2000) ( per curiam); See also, 121 S,Ct. 512 (2000) ( stay)(Scalia, J., conc.). The goal of uniformity appears to underpin the Circuit Court for Richmond City’s pre Bush v. Gore decision in Democratic Party of Virginia v. State Board of Elections, 1999 Va. Cir Lexis 551 ( enjoining experimental program in ten jurisdiction and not applying program statewide)

Annotation: 02/28/2016 10:33 pm

The Department of Elections provides a Handbook for General Registrars and Electoral Board Members, available at https://voterinfo.sbe.virginia.gov/GREBHandbook/

Annotation: 01/14/2016 10:38 am

The Virginia Supreme Court has held that 24.2-103 tasks the State Board with implementing and enforcing all of the Commonwealth’s election statutes. See Miller v. Brown, 462 F.3d 312 (4th Cir. 2006).

Annotation: 10:30 am

Petitions for a writ of mandamus to the Virginia Supreme Court are appropriate where the relevant election is for statewide office.

Definition [Department]

The state agency headed by the Commissioner of Elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [State Board]

The State Board of Elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Electoral board]

A board appointed pursuant to § 24.2-106 to administer elections for a county or city. The electoral board of the county in which a town or the greater part of a town is located shall administer the town’s elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Political party]

An organization of citizens of the Commonwealth which, at either of the two preceding statewide general elections, received at least 10 percent of the total vote cast for any statewide office filled in that election. The organization shall have a state central committee and an office of elected state chairman which have been continually in existence for the six months preceding the filing of a nominee for any office.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Qualified voter]

A person who is entitled to vote pursuant to the Constitution of Virginia and who is (i) 18 years of age on or before the day of the election or qualified pursuant to § 24.2-403 or subsection D of § 24.2-544, (ii) a resident of the Commonwealth and of the precinct in which he offers to vote, and (iii) a registered voter. No person who has been convicted of a felony shall be a qualified voter unless his civil rights have been restored by the Governor or other appropriate authority. No person adjudicated incapacitated shall be a qualified voter unless his capacity has been reestablished as provided by law. Whether a signature should be counted towards satisfying the signature requirement of any petition shall be determined based on the signer of the petition’s qualification to vote. For purposes of determining if a signature on a petition shall be included in the count toward meeting the signature requirements of any petition, “qualified voter” shall include only persons maintained on the Virginia voter registration system (a) with active status and (b) with inactive status who are qualified to vote for the office for which the petition was circulated.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [General election]

An election held in the Commonwealth on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November or on the first Tuesday in May for the purpose of filling offices regularly scheduled by law to be filled at those times.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [General Registrar]

The person appointed by the electoral board of a county or city pursuant to § 24.2-110 to be responsible for all aspects of voter registration, in addition to other duties prescribed by this title. When performing duties related to the administration of elections, the general registrar is acting in his capacity as the director of elections for the locality in which he serves.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Local electoral board]

A board appointed pursuant to § 24.2-106 to administer elections for a county or city. The electoral board of the county in which a town or the greater part of a town is located shall administer the town’s elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Department of Elections]

The state agency headed by the Commissioner of Elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Political party committee]

Any state political party committee, congressional district political party committee, county or city political party committee, other election district political party committee, or organized political party group of elected officials. This definition is subject to the provisions of § 24.2-950.1. See § 24.2-945.1.

The term shall not include any other organization or auxiliary associated with or using the name of a political party. See § 24.2-955.1.

Definition [Party]

An organization of citizens of the Commonwealth which, at either of the two preceding statewide general elections, received at least 10 percent of the total vote cast for any statewide office filled in that election. The organization shall have a state central committee and an office of elected state chairman which have been continually in existence for the six months preceding the filing of a nominee for any office.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Board]

The State Board of Elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [State]

A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

See § 24.2-452.

Definition [Election]

A general, primary, or special election.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Candidate]

A person who seeks or campaigns for an office of the Commonwealth or one of its governmental units in a general, primary, or special election and who is qualified to have his name placed on the ballot for the office. “Candidate” shall include a person who seeks the nomination of a political party or who, by reason of receiving the nomination of a political party for election to an office, is referred to as its nominee. For the purposes of Chapters 8 (§ 24.2-800 et seq.), 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.), and 9.5 (§ 24.2-955 et seq.), “candidate” shall include any write-in candidate. However, no write-in candidate who has received less than 15 percent of the votes cast for the office shall be eligible to initiate an election contest pursuant to Article 2 (§ 24.2-803 et seq.) of Chapter 8. For the purposes of Chapters 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.) and 9.5 (§ 24.2-955 et seq.), “candidate” shall include any person who raises or spends funds in order to seek or campaign for an office of the Commonwealth, excluding federal offices, or one of its governmental units in a party nomination process or general, primary, or special election; and such person shall be considered a candidate until a final report is filed pursuant to Article 3 (§ 24.2-947 et seq.) of Chapter 9.3.

See § 24.2-101.

Cases

Virginia Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: McConnell v. Adams

Citation: 829 F.2d 1319

Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court

Year: 1987

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/a4579de07a60c612f06e5f5cac793939

Case Summary: Holding that (1) Failing to rehire registrars based on political affiliation violated First Amendment; (2) Board members enjoyed qualified immunity when there was a question of whether an exception applied to the prohibition against political affiliation as a consideration for public employment; and (3) Board members were state officers for Eleventh Amendment purposes.

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