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Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > The Election

§ 24.2-644 Voting by paper ballot; voting for presidential electors; write-in votes

Overview of Statute

This section provides the procedure for voting via paper ballot. It also allows voting for write-in candidates.

Statute

A. The qualified voter shall take the official paper ballot and enter the voting booth. After entering the voting booth, the qualified voter shall mark immediately preceding the name of each candidate for whom he wishes to vote a check () or a cross (✗ or +) or a line (-) in the square provided for such purpose, leaving unmarked the square preceding the name of each candidate for whom he does not wish to vote. Any ballot marked so that the intent of the voter is clear shall be counted.

B. The qualified voter at a presidential election shall mark the square preceding the names and party designation for his choice of candidates for President and Vice President. His ballot so marked shall be counted as if he had marked squares preceding the names of the individual electors affiliated with his choice for President and Vice President. The qualified voter at a presidential election may cast a write-in vote for President and Vice President as provided in subsections C and D.

C. At all elections except primary elections it shall be lawful for any voter to vote for any person other than the listed candidates for the office by writing or hand printing the person’s name on the official ballot. No check or other mark shall be required to cast a valid write-in vote. Write-in votes for President and Vice President shall be counted only for candidates who have filed a joint declaration of intent to be write-in candidates for the offices with the Commissioner of Elections not less than 10 days before the date of the presidential election. The declaration of intent shall be on a form prescribed by the State Board and shall include a list of presidential electors pledged to those candidates which equals the whole number of senators and representatives to which the Commonwealth at that time is entitled in the Congress of the United States. A write-in vote cast for candidates for President and Vice President, or for a candidate for President only, shall be counted for the individual electors listed on the declaration of intent as pledged to those candidates.

D. No write-in vote shall be counted unless the name is entered on the ballot in conformance with this section. No write-in vote shall be counted when it is apparent to the officers of election that a voter has voted for the same person for the same office more than one time. No write-in vote shall be counted for an office for any person whose name appears on the ballot as a candidate for that office. If two or more persons are to be elected to the same office, a voter may vote for one or more persons whose names do appear on the ballot and one or more persons whose names do not appear on the ballot, provided that the total number of votes cast by him for that office does not exceed the number of persons to be elected to that office.

Code 1950, §§ 24-245, 24-252, 24-290.5, 24-307; 1952, c. 581; 1962, cc. 260, 536; 1964, c. 593; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-129, 24.1-161, 24.1-217; 1973, c. 30; 1975, c. 515; 1984, c. 234; 1985, cc. 197, 458; 1987, c. 349; 1990, c. 214; 1993, c. 641; 1997, c. 100; 2013, c. 542.

Annotation: 03/03/2016 11:38 pm

As to machine readable ballots, 24.2-648 requiring compliance with equipment instructions is controlling and noncomplying write in votes are void. Jett v. Mancini, Case No. CL07001311-00 (12/27/2007).

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 [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.

See § 24.2-452.

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.

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 [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 [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.

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