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virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > Absentee Voting

§ 24.2-708 Return of unused ballots; voting by applicant who did not receive or lost ballot; defaced ballots

Overview of Statute

This section covers the return of unused ballots, voting by applicants who did not receive or lost ballots, and defaced ballots. A person who receives a ballot and decides not to vote absentee shall return the ballot unopened to the general registrar before the day of the election. A person who did not receive or lost a ballot may be allowed to vote a new ballot, so long as they sign a sworn statement saying that the ballot was not received or lost. If a voter accidentally defaces a ballot, s/he should be allowed to cast another ballot, so long as s/he presents the defaced ballot to the general registrar or an officer of election.

Statute

A. If for any reason a person, who has applied for and received a ballot, decides not to vote absentee, he shall return the ballot unopened, in the sealed envelope in which it was sent to him, to the general registrar, before the day of the election in which the ballot was intended to be used.

The general registrar shall note on the absentee voter applicant list, opposite the name of the person returning the ballot, the fact that the ballot was returned unused and the date of the return. The general registrar shall carefully preserve all ballots returned unused and deliver them, together with other returned ballots, to the officers of election on election day. A voter who has returned his unused ballot before the day of the election as provided herein shall be entitled to vote a regular ballot in person on election day at his proper polling place or at a central absentee voter precinct established by the governing body of the county or city where the person is registered to vote, upon confirmation by the general registrar or an officer of election of the return of the unused ballot. If the general registrar or an officer of election is unable to confirm the return of the unused ballot, the voter shall be entitled to cast a provisional ballot pursuant to § 24.2-653.1. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, a voter may return his unused ballot to his proper polling place or central absentee voter precinct on election day and shall be entitled to vote a regular ballot, and his unused ballot shall be preserved with other unused ballots.

B. If for any reason a person who has applied for and has been sent an absentee ballot does not receive the ballot or loses the ballot, he shall be entitled to cast another ballot after presenting to the general registrar or officer of election a statement signed by him that he did not receive the ballot or has lost the ballot, subject to felony penalties for making false statements as pursuant to § 24.2-1016. If such person offers to vote at his proper polling place or at a central absentee voter precinct established by the governing body of the county or city where he is registered to vote on the day of the elections, he shall be entitled to cast a provisional ballot pursuant to § 24.2-653.1.

C. If a person who has applied for and has been sent an absentee ballot has unintentionally or accidentally defaced and rendered the ballot unfit for voting, he shall be entitled to cast a ballot after presenting the defaced ballot to the general registrar or an officer of election. The returned ballot shall be marked spoiled by the general registrar or an officer of election and placed in a spoiled-ballot envelope to be retained with the ballots for the election. A voter who has returned his defaced ballot before the day of the election as provided herein shall be entitled to vote a regular ballot in person on election day at his proper polling place or at a central absentee voter precinct established by the governing body of the county or city where he is registered to vote, upon confirmation by the general registrar or an officer of election of the return of the defaced ballot. If the general registrar or an officer of election is unable to confirm the return of the defaced ballot, the voter shall be entitled to cast a provisional ballot pursuant to § 24.2-653.1. A voter who returns his defaced or unfit ballot to his proper polling place or central absentee voter precinct on election day shall be entitled to vote a regular ballot, and his defaced or unfit ballot shall be preserved with other spoiled ballots.

Code 1950, §§ 24-336, 24-340.1; 1954, c. 511; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-233; 1974, c. 428; 1978, c. 778; 1993, c. 641; 1999, c. 725; 2006, c. 283; 2010, c. 348; 2012, c. 645; 2014, c. 600; 2015, cc. 644, 645.

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.

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.

Definition [Central absentee voter precinct]

A precinct established by a county or city pursuant to § 24.2-712 for the processing of absentee ballots for the county or city or any combination of precincts within the county or city.

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.

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.

Definition [Election]

A general, primary, or special election.

Definition [Precinct]

The territory designated by the governing body of a county, city, or town to be served by one polling place.