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virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > Voter Registration

§ 24.2-400 Persons entitled to register and vote

Statute

Any person who is not registered to vote, but would otherwise be a qualified voter, is entitled to register to vote as provided in this chapter. Any person who is registered to vote and is a qualified voter shall be entitled to vote in the precinct where he resides.

Code 1950, §§ 24-17, 24-22, 24-23; 1963, Ex. Sess., c. 2; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-41; 1971, Ex. Sess., cc. 205, 265; 1974, c. 428; 1977, c. 490; 1978, c. 778; 1993, c. 641 .

Annotation: 06/07/2016 6:10 pm

On April 22, 2016, using the clemency power, Governor McAuliffe ordered the removal of the political disabilities consequent upon conviction of a felony imposed by Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution from all those individuals who had, as of April 22, 2016, (1) completed their sentences of incarceration for any and all felony convictions; and (2) completed their sentences of supervised release, including probation and parole, for any and all felony convictions. The civil rights restored by this Order were: (1) the right to vote; (2) the right to hold public office; (3) the right to serve on a jury; and (4) the right to act as a notary public.

Annotation: 09/11/2016 6:43 pm

On July 22, 2016, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled 4-3 that McAuliffe’s order restoring voting rights to 206,000 felons was unconstitutional. The court reasoned that the order was too broad in unilaterally rewriting the state’s policy of lifetime disenfranchisement for felons. The Virginia Department of Elections was ordered to cancel the registration of all felons who were illegally registered under the executive order.

Annotation: 09/12/2016 11:49 am

In response to the Virginia Supreme Court’s July ruling, McAuliffe vowed to continue restoring voting rights on an individual, case-by-case basis. The Governor’s policy is available here: https://commonwealth.virginia.gov/media/6733/restoration-of-rights-policy-memo-82216.pdf. In an effort to stop the Governor from pursuing this policy, Republican leaders have asked that the Virginia Supreme Court hold McAuliffe in contempt for violating the Court’s order blocking his reinstatement of voting rights. For more information, see http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/government-politics/article_a8361535-bb81-5a3b-9ad0-9323f1c4f76c.html. The Republicans’ motion is available here: http://virginiahouse.gop/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2016/08/Howell-v.-McAuliffe-motion-to-show-cause-8.31.16.pdf.

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.

Definition [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.

Definition [Precinct]

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

Cases

virginia Cases

Case Name: Sachs v. Horan

Citation: 475 S.E.2d 276

Year: 1996

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/0f1259c3f63f259f6f314f9c70a4328d

Case Summary: Holding that, to establish domicile for purposes of voter qualification, a person must live in a locality with intention to remain there for an unlimited time. Voter did not establish domicile even though he owned a house in the county, because he did not live there and leased it out to others.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Greidinger v. Davis

Citation: 988 F.2d 1344

Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court

Year: 1993

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/172137866d5052e5de17fec3ada830cc

Case Summary: Striking down state’s practice of requiring social security numbers on voter registration applications and then making those applications available for public inspection.

Case Name: Bufford v. Holton

Citation: 319 F. Supp. 843

Federal District Court: Eastern District of Virginia

Year: 1970

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/a6f9556540ef3a068671a1ed355aa7cb

Case Summary: Holding that, when a state threatens a citizen’s voice in government, the state must have a compelling government interest for its action.

Case Name: Moseley v. Price

Citation: 300 F. Supp. 2d 389

Federal District Court: Eastern District of Virginia

Year: 2004

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/1593185044c5fe07bcd89bd1915aafa0

Case Summary: Holding that (1) private individuals may, under the Voting Rights Act, ask for declaratory judgments that new voting qualifications were not precleared; (2) County official did not violate applicant’s rights when he referred possible voter registration fraud to the Commonwealth’s Attorney without filing a complaint and without conducting an investigation; and (3) Investigating possible voter registration fraud did not qualify as a durational residency requirement and did not violate the applicant’s constitutional right to travel.

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