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Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > The Election

§ 24.2-642 Inoperative equipment

Overview of Statute

This section provides procedures for what to do in the event of an inoperative voting or counting machine while polls are open.

Statute

A. When any voting or counting machine becomes inoperative in whole or in part while the polls are open, the officers of election shall immediately notify the electoral board or general registrar. If possible, the electoral board or general registrar shall dispatch a qualified technician to the polling place to repair the inoperative machine. All repairs shall be made in the presence of two officers of election representing the two political parties or, in the case of a primary election for only one party, two officers representing that party. If the machine cannot be repaired on site, the general registrar shall, if possible, substitute a machine in good order for the inoperative machine and at the close of the polls the record of both machines shall be taken and the votes shown on their counters shall be added together in ascertaining the results of the election.

No voting or counting machines, including inoperative machines, shall be removed from the plain view of the officers of election or from the polling place at any time during the election and through the determination of the vote as provided in § 24.2-657 except as explicitly provided pursuant to the provisions of this title.

No voting or counting machine that has become inoperative and contains votes may be removed from the polling place while the polls are open and votes are being ascertained. If the officers of election are unable to ascertain the results from the inoperative machine after the polls close in order to add its results to the results from the other machines in that precinct, the officers of election shall lock and seal the machine without removing the memory card, cartridge, or data storage medium and deliver the machine to either the clerk of court or registrar’s office as provided for in § 24.2-659. On the day following the election, the electoral board shall meet and ascertain the results from the inoperative machine in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the machine’s manufacturer and add the results to the results for the precinct to which the machine was assigned.

Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit the removal of an inoperative machine from a precinct prior to the opening of the polls or the first vote being cast on that machine. Any machine so removed shall be placed in the custody of an authorized custodian, technician, general registrar, or electoral board representative. If the inoperative machine can be repaired, it shall be retested and resealed pursuant to § 24.2-634 and may be returned to the precinct by an authorized custodian, technician, general registrar, or electoral board representative. The officers of election shall then open the machine pursuant to § 24.2-639.

B. In any precinct that uses a ballot that can be read without the use of the ballot scanner machine, if the ballot scanner machine becomes inoperative and there is no other available scanner, the uncounted ballots shall be placed in a ballot container or compartment that is used exclusively for uncounted ballots. If an operative scanner is available in the polling place after the polls have closed, such uncounted ballots shall be removed from the container and fed into the scanner, one at a time, by an officer of election in the presence of all persons who may be lawfully present at that time but before the votes are determined pursuant to § 24.2-657. If such a scanner is not available, the ballots may be counted manually or as directed by the electoral board.

C. An officer of election may have copies of the official paper ballot reprinted or reproduced by photographic, electronic, or mechanical processes for use at the election if (i) the inoperative machine cannot be repaired in time to continue using it at the election, (ii) a substitute machine is needed to conduct the election but is not available for use, (iii) the supply of official printed ballots that can be cast without use of the inoperative machine is not adequate, and (iv) the local electoral board approves the reprinting or reproducing of the official paper ballot. The voted ballot copies may be received by the officers of election and placed in the ballot container and counted with the votes registered on the voting or counting machines, and the result shall be declared the same as though no machine has been inoperative. The voted ballot copies shall be deemed official ballots for the purpose of § 24.2-665 and preserved and returned with the statement of results and with a certificate setting forth how and why the same were voted. The officer of election who had the ballot copies made shall provide a written statement of the number of copies made, signed by him and subject to felony penalties for making false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, to be preserved with the unused ballot copies.

Code 1950, § 24-311; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-221; 1981, c. 570; 1985, c. 458; 1993, c. 641; 2000, c. 282; 2003, c.1015; 2004, cc. 978, 993, 1006, 1010; 2014, cc. 540, 576; 2016, cc. 18, 492.

Definition [Paper ballot]

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

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 [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 [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 [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 [Officer of election]

A person appointed by an electoral board pursuant to § 24.2-115 to serve at a polling place for any election.

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 [Ballot scanner machine]

The electronic counting machine in which a voter inserts a marked ballot to be scanned and the results tabulated.

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.

Regulations & Guidance