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Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > The Election

§ 24.2-651 Voter who is challenged; how challenge tried

Overview of Statute

This section provides for challenges that may be brought against voters and for how a voter may respond. It also instructs as to whether such voter will be able to vote if challenged.

Statute

Any qualified voter may, and the officers of election shall, challenge the vote of any person who is listed on the pollbook but is known or suspected not to be a qualified voter.

The individual making the challenge shall complete and sign the following statement on a form provided by the State Board:

“I do hereby state, subject to penalties for hindering, intimidating, or interfering with a qualified voter pursuant to § 24.2-607, that I am a qualified voter of this Commonwealth or an officer of election and that, to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief, _______________ is not a qualified voter of this precinct by reason of (please check each of the following reasons that is applicable):

1. The named person is not a citizen of the United States;

2. The named person is not now 18 years of age or, in the case of a primary election or a special election held on a date other that a general election date, will not reach the age of 18 before the next general election;

3. The named person is not a resident of the Commonwealth (or, if he has not been a resident of the Commonwealth within the preceding 30 days, he is attempting to vote for an office or issue other than electors of President and Vice President of the United States);

4. The named person is not a resident of this precinct (or he has not been a resident of this precinct since the second preceding general federal election and has not continued to be a resident of this county or city and this congressional district);

5. The named person is not a resident of the town in the case of a town election;

6. The named person has been disqualified from voting by the Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth and this disqualification has not been removed by proper authority;

7. The named person is not the identical person he represents himself to be; or

8. The named person has voted in this election at this or another voting place (state when and where the named person previously voted in this election: _______________).”

Upon receipt of a signed challenge from a qualified voter or officer of election, an officer of election shall explain to the challenged voter the qualifications of a voter and may examine him concerning his qualifications.

The officers of election are hereby authorized to administer the necessary oath or affirmation to any witness brought before them to testify as to the qualifications of any person offering to vote.

If the person being challenged insists that he is qualified and the challenge is not withdrawn, one of the officers shall give him a form containing the following statement:

“I do hereby state, subject to felony penalties for making false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, that I am a citizen of the United States, that I am at least 18 years of age (or will be on the __________ day of __________, _____) that I am a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia (or that I have been a resident of this Commonwealth within the preceding 30 days and am voting only for electors of President and Vice President of the United States), and that, according to the best of my knowledge, information and belief, I am not disqualified from voting by the Constitution and laws of this Commonwealth; that my full name is _______________; that in such name I was duly registered as a voter of this precinct; that I am now or at some time since the last November general election have been an actual resident of this precinct or that I have been an actual resident of this precinct at some time since the second preceding general federal election and have been and continue to be a resident of this county or city and this congressional district; if I am voting in a town election today, that I am currently a resident of that town; that I am the identical person I represent myself to be; and that I have not voted in this election at this or any voting place and will not vote in this election at any other voting place.”

If the person challenged refuses to sign the statement, he shall not be permitted to vote. If, however, he signs the statement, he shall be permitted to vote on the voting system in use at the precinct, unless he is required to cast a provisional ballot pursuant to § 24.2-651.1.

When the voter has signed the statement and is permitted to vote, the officers of election shall mark his name on the pollbook with the first or next consecutive number from the voter count form, or shall enter that the voter has voted if the pollbook is in electronic form, and shall indicate on the pollbook that he has signed the required statement in accordance with the instructions of the State Board.

If the envelope containing a voted absentee ballot has been properly signed by the voter, such ballot shall not be subject to challenge pursuant to this section.

Code 1950, §§ 24-253, 24-254, 24-325; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-133; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 265; 1972, c. 620; 1977, c. 490; 1978, c. 778; 1980, c. 639; 1981, c. 425; 1983, c. 461; 1993, c. 641; 1997, c. 346; 2003, c. 1015; 2007, c. 375; 2012, cc. 838, 839.

Definition [State Board]

The State Board of Elections.

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 [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 [General election]

An election held in the Commonwealth on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November or on the first Tuesday in May for the purpose of filling offices regularly scheduled by law to be filled at those times.

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 [Special election]

Any election that is held pursuant to law to fill a vacancy in office or to hold a referendum.

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 [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 [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.

See § 24.2-101.

Cases

virginia Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Moseley v. Price

Citation: 300 F. Supp. 2d 389

Federal District Court: Eastern District of Virginia

Year: 2004

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/1593185044c5fe07bcd89bd1915aafa0

Case Summary: Holding that county official did not violate applicant’s rights by referring his possible voter registration fraud to the Commonwealth’s Attorney without filing a formal complaint and without first conducting a thorough investigation.

Regulations & Guidance