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virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > Voter Registration

§ 24.2-411.2 State-designated voter registration agencies

Overview of Statute

This section lists agencies that are designated by the state for voter registration. These agencies must provide the services outlined in this section.

Statute

A. The following agencies are designated as voter registration agencies in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (52 U.S.C. § 20501 et seq.) and shall provide voter registration opportunities at their state, regional, or local offices, depending upon the point of service:

1. Agencies whose primary function is to provide public assistance, including agencies that provide benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program; Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children; Medicaid program; or Food Stamps program;

2. Agencies whose primary function is to provide state-funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities;

3. Armed Forces recruitment offices; and

4. The regional offices of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the offices of the Virginia Employment Commission in the Northern Virginia Planning District 8.

B. The Commissioner of Elections, with the assistance of the Office of the Attorney General, shall compile and maintain a list of the specific agencies covered by subdivisions A 1 and A 2 that, in the legal opinion of the Attorney General, must be designated to meet the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act. The Commissioner of Elections shall notify each agency of its designation and thereafter notify any agency added to or deleted from the list.

C. At each voter registration agency, the following services shall be made available on the premises of the agency:

1. Distribution of mail voter registration forms provided by the Department of Elections;

2. Assistance to applicants in completing voter registration application forms, unless the applicant refuses assistance; and

3. Receipt of completed voter registration application forms.

D. A voter registration agency, which provides service or assistance in conducting voter registration, shall make the following services available on the premises of the agency:

1. Distribution with each application for its service or assistance, or upon admission to a facility or program, and with each recertification, readmission, renewal, or change of address form, of a voter registration application prescribed by the Department of Elections that complies with the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act (52 U.S.C. § 20501 et seq.).

2. Provision, as part of the voter registration process, of a form that includes:

a. The question: “If you are not registered to vote where you live now, would you like to apply to register to vote here today?”

b. If the agency provides public assistance, the statement: “Applying to register or declining to register to vote will not affect the amount of assistance that you will be provided by this agency.”

c. Boxes for the applicant to check to indicate whether the applicant would like to register, declines to register to vote, or is already registered (failure to check any box being deemed to constitute a declination to register for purposes of subdivision 2 a), together with the statement (in close proximity to the boxes and in prominent type): “IF YOU DO NOT CHECK ANY BOX, YOU WILL BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE DECIDED NOT TO REGISTER TO VOTE AT THIS TIME.”

d. The statement: “If you would like help in filling out the voter registration application form, we will help you. The decision whether to seek help or accept help is yours. You may fill out the application form in private.”

e. The statement: “If you believe that someone has interfered with your right to register or to decline to register to vote, or your right to privacy in deciding whether to register or in applying to register to vote, you may file a complaint with the Department of Elections.” The statement shall include the address and telephone number of the Department.

f. The following statement accompanying the form which features prominently in boldface capital letters: “WARNING: INTENTIONALLY MAKING A MATERIALLY FALSE STATEMENT ON THIS FORM CONSTITUTES THE CRIME OF ELECTION FRAUD, WHICH IS PUNISHABLE UNDER VIRGINIA LAW AS A FELONY. VIOLATORS MAY BE SENTENCED TO UP TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON, OR UP TO 12 MONTHS IN JAIL AND/OR FINED UP TO $2,500.”

3. Provision to each applicant who does not decline to register to vote of the same degree of assistance with regard to the completion of the voter registration application as is provided by the office with regard to the completion of its own applications, unless the applicant refuses assistance.

E. If a voter registration agency designated under subsection A of this section provides services to a person with a disability at the person’s home, the agency shall provide the voter registration services as provided for in this section.

F. A person who provides services at a designated voter registration agency shall not:

1. Seek to influence an applicant’s political preference;

2. Display any material indicating the person’s political preference or party allegiance;

3. Make any statement to an applicant or take any action the purpose or effect of which is to lead the applicant to believe that a decision to register or not to register has any bearing on the availability of services or benefits; or

4. Disclose, except as authorized by law for official use, the social security number, or any part thereof, of any applicant for voter registration.

Any person who is aggrieved by a violation of this subsection may provide written notice of the violation to the Department. The Department shall be authorized to cooperate with the agency to resolve the alleged violation. Nothing contained in this subsection shall prohibit an aggrieved person from filing a complaint in accordance with § 24.2-1019 against a person who commits any election law offense enumerated in §§ 24.2-1000 through 24.2-1016.

G. A completed voter registration application shall be transmitted as directed by the Department not later than five business days after the date of receipt.

H. Each state-designated voter registration agency shall maintain such statistical records on the number of applications to register to vote as requested by the Department.

1996, cc. 72, 73; 2002, c. 747; 2007, c. 318; 2013, c. 542; 2015, c. 740.

Definition [Department]

The state agency headed by the Commissioner of Elections.

Definition [Authorized by]

Express approval or express consent by the candidate, the candidate’s campaign committee, or an agent of the candidate or his campaign committee after coordination.

Definition [Department of Elections]

The state agency headed by the Commissioner of Elections.

Definition [Person with a disability]

A person with a disability as defined by the Virginians with Disabilities Act (§ 51.5-1 et seq.).

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.

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.

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 [Primary]

An election held for the purpose of selecting a candidate to be the nominee of a political party for election to office.

Definition [Election]

A general, primary, or special election.