§ 24.2-219 Alternative for biennial county supervisor elections and staggered terms
Overview of Statute
This section allows counties to provide, by ordinance, that the county board of supervisors be elected biennially for staggered four-year terms. Registered voters of a county also can file a petition requesting that a referendum be held on the question.
A. The governing body of any county may by ordinance provide that the county board of supervisors be elected biennially for staggered four-year terms.
In lieu of an ordinance by the board of supervisors, the registered voters of the county may file a petition with the circuit court of the county requesting that a referendum be held on the question of whether the county board of supervisors should be elected biennially for staggered four-year terms. The petition shall be signed by registered voters equal in number to at least ten percent of the number registered in the county on the January 1 preceding its filing.
The court pursuant to §§ 24.2-682 and 24.2-684 shall order the election officials on a day fixed in the order to conduct a referendum on the question. The clerk of the court shall publish notice of the referendum in a newspaper having general circulation in the county once a week for four consecutive weeks and shall post a copy of the notice at the door of the courthouse of the county. The question on the ballot shall be:
“Shall the members of the county board of supervisors be elected biennially for staggered four-year terms?
[ ] Yes
[ ] No”
The referendum shall be held and the results certified as provided in § 24.2-684.
B. If a majority of the voters voting in the referendum voted for biennial election of the members of the board of supervisors for staggered four-year terms, or if the governing body has so provided by ordinance, then the terms of supervisors elected at the next general election for supervisors shall be as follows:
1. If the number of supervisors elected in the county is an even number, half of the successful candidates shall be elected for terms of four years and half of the successful candidates shall be elected for terms of two years; or
2. If the number of supervisors in the county is an odd number, the smallest number of candidates which creates a majority of the elected supervisors shall be elected for terms of four years and all other successful candidates shall be elected for terms of two years.
Unless the number of members who volunteer to take two-year terms exactly equals the number of two-year terms to be assigned, the electoral board of the county shall assign the individual terms of members by lot at its meeting on the day following the election and immediately upon certification of the results. However, the electoral board may assign individual terms of members by election district in a drawing at a meeting held prior to the last day for a person to qualify as a candidate, if the governing body of the county so directs by ordinance or resolution adopted at least thirty days prior to the last day for qualification and members are elected by district. In all elections thereafter all successful candidates shall be elected for terms of four years.
In any county where the chairman of the board is elected from the county at large pursuant to § 15.2-503 or § 15.2-802, the provisions of this section shall not affect that office. The chairman of the board shall be elected for a term of four years in 1995 and every four years thereafter.
C. If the representation on the board of supervisors among the election districts is reapportioned, or the number of districts is diminished or the boundaries of the districts are changed, elections shall be held in each new district at the general election next preceding the expiration of the term of the office of the member of the board representing the predecessor district of each new district. If the number of districts is increased, the electoral board shall assign a two-year or four-year term for each new district so as to maintain as equal as practicable the number of members to be elected at each biennial election.
Code 1950, § 24-157; 1968, c. 639; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-88; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 265; 1973, c. 30; 1976, c. 616; 1981, c. 12; 1982, c. 650; 1993, c. 641; 2011, c. 455.
1. Definition for Referendum
Any election held pursuant to law to submit a question to the voters for approval or rejection.
2. Definition for 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.
3. Definition for 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.
4. Definition for Registered voter
Any person who is maintained on the Virginia voter registration system. All registered voters shall be maintained on the Virginia voter registration system with active status unless assigned to inactive status by a general registrar in accordance with Chapter 4 (§ 24.2-400 et seq.). For purposes of applying the precinct size requirements of § 24.2-307, calculating election machine requirements pursuant to Article 3 (§ 24.2-625 et seq.) of Chapter 6, mailing notices of local election district, precinct or polling place changes as required by subdivision 13 of § 24.2-114 and § 24.2-306, and determining the number of signatures required for candidate and voter petitions, “registered voter” shall include only persons maintained on the Virginia voter registration system with active status. For purposes of determining if a signature on a petition shall be included in the count toward meeting the signature requirements of any petition, “registered voter” shall include only persons maintained on the Virginia voter registration system (i) with active status and (ii) on inactive status who are qualified to vote for the office for which the petition was circulated.
5. Definition for Election district
The territory designated by proper authority or by law which is represented by an official elected by the people, including the Commonwealth, a congressional district, a General Assembly district, or a district for the election of an official of a county, city, town, or other governmental unit.
6. Definition for Board
The State Board of Elections.
7. Definition for Person
Any individual or corporation, partnership, business, labor organization, membership organization, association, cooperative, or other like entity.
For the purpose of applying the filing and reporting requirements of this chapter, the term “person” shall not include an organization holding tax-exempt status under § 501(c) (3), 501(c) (4), or 501(c) (6) of the United States Internal Revenue Code which, in providing information to voters, does not advocate or endorse the election or defeat of a particular candidate, group of candidates, or the candidates of a particular political party.
8. Definition for Election
A general, primary, or special election.
9. Definition for 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.