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Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > Election Districts, Precincts, And Polling Places

§ 24.2-310 Requirements for polling places

Overview of Statute

This sections lays out requirements for polling places, including location, funding, accessibility, alternative polling places for emergencies, and restriction of campaign activity.

Statute

A. The polling place for each precinct shall be located within the county or city and either within the precinct or within one mile of the precinct boundary. The polling place for a county precinct may be located within a city (i) if the city is wholly contained within the county election district served by the precinct or (ii) if the city is wholly contained within the county and the polling place is located on property owned by the county. The polling place for a town precinct may be located within one mile of the precinct and town boundary. For town elections held in November, the town shall use the polling places established by the county for its elections.

B. The governing body of each county, city, and town shall provide funds to enable the general registrar to provide adequate facilities at each polling place for the conduct of elections. Each polling place shall be located in a public building whenever practicable. If more than one polling place is located in the same building, each polling place shall be located in a separate room or separate and defined space.

C. Polling places shall be accessible to qualified voters as required by the provisions of the Virginians with Disabilities Act (§ 51.5-1 et seq.), the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act (52 U.S.C. § 20101 et seq.), and the Americans with Disabilities Act relating to public services (42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq.). The State Board shall provide instructions to the local electoral boards and general registrars to assist the localities in complying with the requirements of the Acts.

D. If an emergency makes a polling place unusable or inaccessible, the electoral board or the general registrar shall provide an alternative polling place and give notice of the change in polling place, including to all candidates, or such candidate’s campaign, appearing on the ballot to be voted at the alternative polling place, subject to the prior approval of the State Board. The general registrar shall provide notice to the voters appropriate to the circumstances of the emergency. For the purposes of this subsection, an “emergency” means a rare and unforeseen combination of circumstances, or the resulting state, that calls for immediate action.

E. It shall be permissible to distribute campaign materials on the election day on the property on which a polling place is located and outside of the building containing the room where the election is conducted except as specifically prohibited by law including, without limitation, the prohibitions of § 24.2-604 and the establishment of the “Prohibited Area” within 40 feet of any entrance to the polling place. However, and notwithstanding the provisions of clause (i) of subsection A of § 24.2-604, and upon the approval of the local electoral board, campaign materials may be distributed outside the polling place and inside the structure where the election is conducted, provided that the “Prohibited Area” (i) includes the area within the structure that is beyond 40 feet of any entrance to the polling place and the area within the structure that is within 40 feet of any entrance to the room where the election is conducted and (ii) is maintained and enforced as provided in § 24.2-604. The local electoral board may approve campaigning activities inside the building where the election is conducted when an entrance to the building is from an adjoining building, or if establishing the 40-foot prohibited area outside the polling place would hinder or delay a qualified voter from entering or leaving the building.

F. Any local government, local electoral board, or the State Board may make monetary grants to any non-governmental entity furnishing facilities under the provisions of § 24.2-307 or 24.2-308 for use as a polling place. Such grants shall be made for the sole purpose of meeting the accessibility requirements of this section. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to obligate any local government, local electoral board, or the State Board to appropriate funds to any non-governmental entity.

Code 1950, §§ 24-45, 24-46, 24-171, 24-179 through 24-181; 1954, c. 375; 1956, c. 378; 1962, cc. 185, 536; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-36, 24.1-37, 24.1-92, 24.1-97; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 119; 1976, c. 616; 1977, c. 30; 1978, c. 778; 1980, c. 639; 1981, c. 425; 1984, c. 217; 1985, c. 197; 1986, c. 558; 1992, c. 445; 1993, cc. 546, 641; 1994, c. 307; 2003, c. 1015; 2004, c. 25; 2005, c. 340; 2008, cc. 113, 394; 2010, cc. 639, 707; 2012, cc. 488, 759; 2016, cc. 18, 492.

Annotation: 02/21/2016 8:22 pm

For purposes of accessibility, the general registrar’s office is considered a polling place when conducting in person absentee voting. EAC Advisory 2001-001.

Definition [State Board]

The State Board of Elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Polling place]

The structure that contains the one place provided for each precinct at which the qualified voters who are residents of the precinct may vote.

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 [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 [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.

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 [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 [Precinct]

The territory designated by the governing body of a county, city, or town to be served by one polling place.

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.

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