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Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > The Election

§ 24.2-613 Form of ballot

Overview of Statute

This section contains requirements regarding the forms of ballots.

Statute

A. The ballots shall comply with the requirements of this title and the standards prescribed by the State Board.

B. For elections for federal, statewide, and General Assembly offices only, each candidate who has been nominated by a political party or in a primary election shall be identified by the name of his political party. Independent candidates shall be identified by the term “Independent.” For the purpose of this section, any Independent candidate may, by producing sufficient and appropriate evidence of nomination by a “recognized political party” to the State Board, have the term “Independent” on the ballot converted to that of a “recognized political party” on the ballot and be treated on the ballot in a manner consistent with the candidates nominated by political parties. For the purpose of this section, a “recognized political party” is defined as an organization that, for at least six months preceding the filing of its nominee for the office, has had in continual existence a state central committee composed of registered voters residing in each congressional district of the Commonwealth, a party plan and bylaws, and a duly elected state chairman and secretary. A letter from the state chairman of a recognized political party certifying that a candidate is the nominee of that party and also signed by such candidate accepting that nomination shall constitute sufficient and appropriate evidence of nomination by a recognized political party. The name of the political party, the name of the “recognized political party,” or term “Independent” may be shown by an initial or abbreviation to meet ballot requirements.

C. Except as provided for primary elections, the State Board shall determine by lot the order of the political parties, and the names of all candidates for a particular office shall appear together in the order determined for their parties. In an election district in which more than one person is nominated by one political party for the same office, the candidates’ names shall appear alphabetically in their party groups under the name of the office, with sufficient space between party groups to indicate them as such. For the purpose of this section, except as provided for presidential elections in § 24.2-614, “recognized political parties” shall be treated as a class; the order of the recognized political parties within the class shall be determined by lot by the State Board; and the class shall follow the political parties as defined by § 24.2-101 and precede the independent class. Independent candidates shall be treated as a class under “Independent”, and their names shall be placed on the ballot after the political parties and recognized political parties. Where there is more than one independent candidate for an office, their names shall appear on the ballot in an order determined by the priority of time of filing all required paperwork for the office. In the event two or more candidates file simultaneously, the order of filing shall then be determined by lot by the electoral board as in the case of a tie vote for the office.

No individual’s name shall appear on the ballot more than once for the same office.

D. In preparing the printed ballots for general, special, and primary elections, the State Board and electoral boards shall cause to be printed in not less than 10-point type, immediately below the title of any office, a statement of the number of candidates for whom votes may be cast for that office. For any office to which only one candidate can be elected, the following language shall be used: “Vote for only one.” For any office to which more than one candidate can be elected, the following language shall be used: “Vote for not more than .”

E. Any locality that uses machine-readable ballots at one or more precincts, including any central absentee precinct, may, with the approval of the State Board, use a printed reproduction of the machine-readable ballot in lieu of the official machine-readable ballot. Such reproductions shall be printed and otherwise handled in accordance with all laws and procedures that apply to official paper ballots.

In every county and city using voting systems requiring printed ballots, the electoral board shall furnish a sufficient number of ballots printed on plain white paper, of such form and size as will fit in the ballot frames.

Code 1950, §§ 24-215, 24-217; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-111, 24.1-113; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 119; 1972, c. 620; 1973, c. 30; 1974, c. 428; 1980, c. 639; 1981, c. 425; 1993, c. 641; 2000, cc. 282, 514, 866; 2002, c. 738; 2008, c. 544; 2010, c. 204; 2014, cc. 540, 568, 576; 2016, c. 493; 2017, cc. 352, 364.

Annotation: 03/24/2016 9:10 pm

Sarvis v. Judd, 80 F. Supp. 3d 692 (E.D.Va. 2015) , rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of Virginia’s tiered ballot ordering scheme in which parties not qualifying as political parties under 24.2-101 political party candidatlaw appear below candidates for political parties.

Annotation: 8:43 pm

Marcellus v. SBE, Case No. 3:15cv481 (E.D. Va. 3/4/2016) rejected a challenge to limiting party designations on ballots to federal, statewide and General Assembly offices so that candidates for constitutional and local offices do not have party designations printed with their names on the ballot.

Definition [State Board]

The State Board of Elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Paper ballot]

A tangible ballot that is marked by a voter and then manually counted.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Voting system]

The electronic voting and counting machines used at elections. This term includes direct recording electronic machines (DRE) and ballot scanner machines.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Printed ballot]

A tangible ballot that is printed on paper and includes both machine-readable ballots and paper ballots.

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 [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.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Primary election]

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

See § 24.2-101.

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.

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 [Machine-readable ballot]

A tangible ballot that is marked by a voter or by a system or device operated by a voter and then fed into and scanned by a counting machine capable of reading ballots and tabulating results.

See § 24.2-101.

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.

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 [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.

See § 24.2-945.1.

Definition [Primary]

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

See § 24.2-101.

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.

Cases

Virginia Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Case State: virginia

Case Name: State Bd. of Elections v. Forb

Citation: 199 S.E.2d 527

Year: 1973

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/34b34d522fd671103ee01c0ad9666d1d?query=199%20S[...]

Case Summary: Holding that statute providing for separation of political groups from each other on ballot but no separation between independent candidates did not discriminate against the independent candidate, deprive him of freedom of association, or restrict the right of franchise by creating unnecessary confusion.

Federal Cases

Case Name: Sarvis v. Judd

Citation: 80 F. Supp. 3d 692

Federal District Court: Eastern District of Virginia

Year: 2015

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/bbe5aa11648c099d8290647af39135f9

Case Summary: Dismissing action filed against State Board of Elections arguing that assigning lower place on ballot to independent candidates and candidates from smaller parties violated those candidates’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The court applied deferential analysis and recognized the following state interests as important: avoiding voter confusion, party-order ballot symmetry, and favoring parties that demonstrated widespread support.

Case Name: Marcellus v. Va. State Bd. of Elections

Citation: 849 F.3d 169

Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court

Year: 2017

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/2eae3a3e1d32ac73ed82cd6a4f6d5974

Case Summary: Holding that banning party identifiers for candidates in local elections while requiring them for candidates seeking other offices did not violate the 1st or 14th Amendments.

Case Name: Libertarian Party of Va. v. Alcorn

Citation: 826 F.3d 708

Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court

Year: 2016

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/4e20e6ef4e910fc4d2ba25188c9f69c6

Case Summary: Holding that ballot ordering placing independent and minor party candidates lower on the ballot than candidates from major parties did not violate the 1st or 14th Amendment.