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virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > Candidates For Office

§ 24.2-543 How other groups may submit names of electors; oaths of electors

Overview of Statute

This section describes how groups other than state-recognized political parties can submit names of electors by petition. Generally, the group filing the petition must file it with a copy of an oath by each elector stating that he will, if elected, cast his ballot for the candidates named in the petition.

Statute

A. A group of qualified voters, not constituting a political party as defined in § 24.2-101, may have the names of electors selected by them, including one elector residing in each congressional district and two from the Commonwealth at large, printed upon the official ballot to be used in the election of electors for President and Vice President by filing a petition pursuant to this section. The petition shall be filed with the State Board by noon of the seventy-fourth day before the presidential election. The petition shall be signed by at least 5,000 qualified voters and include signatures of at least 200 qualified voters from each congressional district. The petition shall be signed by petitioners on and after January 1 of the year of the presidential election only and contain the residence address of each petitioner. The signature of each petitioner shall be witnessed either by a person who is a constitutionally qualified candidate for President of the United States, who may witness his own petition, or by a person who is a resident of the Commonwealth and who is not a minor or a felon whose voting rights have not been restored and whose affidavit to that effect appears on each page of the petition. The petition shall state the names of the electors selected by the petitioners, the party name under which they desire the named electors to be listed on the ballot, and the names of the candidates for President and Vice President for whom the electors are required to vote in the Electoral College. The persons filing the petition shall file with it a copy of a subscribed and notarized oath by each elector stating that he will, if elected, cast his ballot for the candidates for President and Vice President named in the petition, or as the party may direct in the event of death, withdrawal or disqualification of the party nominee. In order to utilize a selected party name on the ballot, the petitioners shall have had a state central committee composed of registered voters from each congressional district of the Commonwealth, a party plan and bylaws, and a duly designated chairman and secretary in existence and holding office for at least six months prior to filing the petition. The State Board may require proof that the petitioners meet these requirements before permitting use of a party name on the ballot. The party name shall not be identical with or substantially similar to the name of any political party qualifying under § 24.2-101 and then in existence.

In the event of the death or withdrawal of a candidate for President or Vice President qualified to appear on the ballot by party name, that party may substitute the name of a different candidate before the State Board certifies to the county and city electoral boards the form of the official ballots.

In the event that a group of qualified voters meets the requirements set forth in this section except that they cannot utilize a party name, the electors selected and the candidates for President and Vice President shall be identified and designated as “Independent” on the ballot. Substitution of a different candidate for Vice President may be made by the candidate for President before the State Board certifies to the county and city electoral boards the form of the official ballot.

In the event of the death or disqualification of any person listed as an elector for candidates for President and Vice President on a petition filed pursuant to this section, the party or candidate for President, as applicable, may substitute the name of a different elector. Such substitution shall not invalidate any petition of qualified voters circulated with the name of the deceased or disqualified elector provided that notice of the substitution is filed with the State Board by noon of the seventy-fourth day before the presidential election. Notice of the substitution and the name of any substitute elector shall be submitted on a form prepared by the State Board.

B. If the State Board determines that a candidate for President does not qualify to have his name appear on the ballot pursuant to this section by reason of the candidate’s filed petition not containing the minimum number of signatures of qualified voters for the office sought, the candidate may appeal the determination to the State Board within seven calendar days of the issuance of the notice of disqualification. The notice of disqualification shall be sent by email or regular mail to the address on file for the candidate, and such notice shall be deemed sufficient. The State Board shall hear the appeal within three business days of its filing.

The State Board shall develop procedures for the conduct of such an appeal. The consideration on appeal shall be limited to whether or not the signatures on the petitions that were filed were reasonably rejected according to the requirements of this title and the rules and procedures set forth by the State Board for checking petitions. Immediately after the conclusion of the appeal hearing, the State Board shall notify the candidate of its decision in writing. The decision on appeal shall be final and not subject to further appeal.

Code 1950, § 24-290.3; 1952, c. 330; 1964, c. 542; 1968, c. 284; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-159; 1982, c. 650; 1984, c. 480; 1993, c. 641; 1994, c. 149; 1998, cc. 152, 246; 2000, cc. 232, 252; 2001, c. 630; 2003, c. 477; 2012, cc. 166, 538; 2013, cc. 521, 550, 684.

Annotation: 03/18/2016 1:57 pm

Litigation regarding redistricting may involve multiple possible congressional redistricting plans with different district boundaries. Consequently, candidates who qualify under one set of districts may not qualify under a different set of potentially applicable districts.

Annotation: 03/22/2016 9:02 pm

A 2001 Attorney General opinion holds that elections are conducted based on the new districts citing the 1993 recodification report on 24.2-311.

Annotation: 03/18/2016 2:29 pm

Under section 24.520 a candidate “defeated in the primary” may not have his name printed on the ballot. A candidate “not defeated” may be able to appear on the ballot under this provision if not selected by his/her political party.

Annotation: 1:43 pm

Lux v. Judd, 651 F.3d 396 (4th Cir. 2011), on remand 3:10cv482 (E.D.Va. 2/8/2012), held that Virginia’s residency requirement for petition circulators cannot be enforced.

Definition [State Board]

The State Board of Elections.

Definition [United States]

Used in the territorial sense, means the several states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

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.

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.

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 [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.

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 [Board]

The State Board of Elections.

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 [Election]

A general, primary, or special election.

Definition [Resident]

For all purposes of qualification to register and vote, means and requires both domicile and a place of abode. To establish domicile, a person must live in a particular locality with the intention to remain. A place of abode is the physical place where a person dwells.

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.

Definition [Residence]

For all purposes of qualification to register and vote, means and requires both domicile and a place of abode. To establish domicile, a person must live in a particular locality with the intention to remain. A place of abode is the physical place where a person dwells.

Cases

virginia Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Libertarian Party v. Davis

Citation: 591 F. Supp. 1561

Federal District Court: Eastern District of Virginia

Year: 1984

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/bedac521302d7937f07c217ec00f9669

Case Summary: Holding that requirements that signatures be obtained from each of the congressional districts in Virginia and that signatures be witnessed by voter of same congressional district were constitutional.

Case Name: Libertarian Party of Va. v. Judd

Citation: 718 F.3d 308

Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court

Year: 2013

Case URL: http://www.leagle.com/decision/In%20FCO%2020130529136/LIBERTARIAN%20PARTY%20OF%2[...]

Case Summary: Holding that requirement to have residents witness nomination petition signatures was unconstitutional because (1) this limitation on political speech was subject to strict scrutiny; and (2) making non-resident circulators submit to Virginia’s jurisdiction was more narrowly tailored to the legitimate goal of reducing election fraud. Non-resident petition circulator had standing to contest this requirement.

Case Name: Libertarian Party v. Judd

Citation: 881 F. Supp. 2d 719

Federal District Court: Eastern District of Virginia

Year: 2012

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/8095b469cf72e5c922d06b5602d35a32

Case Summary: Holding that state’s residency requirement on petition circulation directly infringed upon the constitutional rights of candidates, voters, petition circulators, and political parties, and was therefore subject to strict scrutiny. The law deprived non-residents of a means to engage in core political speech and reduced the quantity of such speech available to state residents. The    residency requirement on petition circulation sought to achieve a compelling state interest in preserving the electoral process's integrity by enabling the state election board to confirm the identities of petition circulators and ensure that those individuals were subject to the state’s subpoena power for purposes of prosecuting election fraud. But the requirement was not a narrowly tailored means to preserve the integrity of the electoral process, because there was no evidence that allowing non-residents to circulate petitions increased the instances of fraud or that the state was unable to prosecute a fraudulent circulator who was not a resident.

Regulations & Guidance