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Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > The Election

§ 24.2-625.1 Voting equipment security

Overview of Statute

This section covers security measures for voting equipment.

Statute

A. Records of the State Board of Elections or of a local electoral board, to the extent such records describe protocols for maintaining the security of ballots or voting and counting equipment, or reveal the results of risk assessments of specific local electoral procedures, the release of which would compromise the security of any election, shall be confidential and excluded from inspection and copying under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

B. The State Board of Elections or a local electoral board may hold a closed meeting pursuant to the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act for the purpose of discussing protocols for maintaining the security of ballots or voting and counting equipment, or risk assessments of specific local electoral procedures, where discussion of such matters in open meeting would compromise the security of any election. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to authorize a closed meeting to discuss any breach of security in the conduct of an election.

C. Two members of any local electoral board may conduct site visits for the sole purpose of investigating compliance with security policies and procedures. No such visit shall be deemed a meeting under the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. However, prior to conducting such site visits, the board shall hold an open meeting, as defined in the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, and shall identify at that meeting its intention to conduct such site visits, the dates on which such visits will occur, and all polling places or other locations at which such visits will occur, withholding only information identifying secure sites at which voting and counting equipment or ballots are stored. No later than 30 days after any site visit has been conducted pursuant to this paragraph, the board shall hold an open meeting, as defined in the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, at which it shall identify each location visited and the date on which each such location was visited, withholding only information identifying secure sites at which voting and counting equipment or ballots are stored.

D. The electoral board of each county and city that utilizes electronic voting systems shall develop and annually update written plans and procedures to ensure the security and integrity of its electronic voting systems. The general registrar and the State Board shall provide the electoral board assistance, upon request.

E. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the release of information concerning any breach of security in the conduct of an election.

2005, c. 568; 2007, c. 794.

Annotation: 10/12/2016 9:32 pm

The important point is in A & B. Records of the State Board of Elections and local boards relating to protocols on security are covered by Va. FOIA. These protocols, however, are confidential and excluded from disclosure under the Va. FOIA. Virginia does not follow the trend toward “open source “ protocols. Meetings to discuss these protocols are also excluded from the Va. FOIA.

Annotation: 10/16/2016 10:24 am

The determination of whether release of information would compromise the security of any election is made by the State Board or local board conducting the meeting, hopefully in consultation with their legal counsel.

Annotation: 10/12/2016 9:41 pm

Subsection E merely provides that the State or local Board release information as they deem appropriate without violating the confidentiality provisions of A & B.

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 [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 [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 [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.