Topics
Code Section
Tool bar
virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > Absentee Voting

§ 24.2-712 Central absentee voter precincts; counting ballots

Overview of Statute

This section allows the governing bodies of each county or city to establish one or more central absentee voter precincts for the purpose of receiving, counting, and recording absentee ballots cast in the county or city.

Statute

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the governing body of each county or city may establish one or more central absentee voter precincts in the courthouse or other public buildings for the purpose of receiving, counting, and recording absentee ballots cast in the county or city. The decision to establish any absentee voter precinct shall be made by the governing body by ordinance; the ordinance shall state for which elections the precinct shall be used. The decision to abolish any absentee voter precinct shall be made by the governing body by ordinance. Immediate notification of either decision shall be sent to the Department of Elections and the electoral board.

B. Each central absentee voter precinct shall have at least three officers of election as provided for other precincts. The number of officers shall be determined by the electoral board and general registrar.

C. If any voter brings an unmarked ballot to the central absentee voter precinct on the day of the election, he shall be allowed to vote it. If any voter brings an unmarked ballot to the general registrar on or before the day of the election, he shall be allowed to vote it, and his ballot shall be delivered to the absentee voter precinct pursuant to § 24.2-710.

The officers at the absentee voter precinct shall determine any appeal by any other voter whose name appears on the absentee voter applicant list and who offers to vote in person. If the officers at the absentee voter precinct produce records showing the receipt of his application and the certificate or other evidence of mailing for the ballot, they shall deny his appeal. If the officers cannot produce such records, the voter shall be allowed to vote in person at the absentee voter precinct and have his vote counted with other absentee votes. If the voter’s appeal is denied, the provisions of § 24.2-708 shall be applicable, and the officers shall advise the voter that he may vote on presentation of a statement signed by him that he has not received an absentee ballot and subject to felony penalties for making false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016.

D. Absentee ballots may be processed as required by § 24.2-711 by the officers of election at the central absentee voter precinct prior to the closing of the polls but the ballot container shall not be opened and the counting of ballots shall not begin prior to that time. In the case of machine-readable ballots, the ballot container may be opened and the absentee ballots may be inserted in the counting machines prior to the closing of the polls in accordance with procedures prescribed by the Department of Elections, including procedures to preserve ballot secrecy, but no ballot count totals shall be initiated prior to that time.

As soon as the polls are closed in the county or city the officers of election at the central absentee voter precinct shall proceed promptly to ascertain and record the vote given by absentee ballot and report the results in the manner provided for counting and reporting ballots generally in Article 4 (§ 24.2-643 et seq.) of Chapter 6.

E. The electoral board or general registrar may provide that the officers of election for a central absentee voter precinct may be assigned to work all or a portion of the time that the precinct is open on election day subject to the following conditions:

1. The chief officer and the assistant chief officer, appointed pursuant to § 24.2-115 to represent the two political parties, are on duty at all times; and

2. No officer, political party representative, or other candidate representative shall leave the precinct after any ballots have been counted until the polls are closed and the count for the precinct is completed and reported.

F. The general registrar may provide that the central absentee voter precinct will open after 6:00 a.m. on the day of the election provided that the office of the general registrar will be open for the receipt of absentee ballots until the central absentee voter precinct is open and that the officers of election for the central absentee voter precinct obtain the absentee ballots returned to the general registrar’s office for the purpose of counting the absentee ballots at the central absentee voter precinct and provided further that the central absentee voter precinct is the same location as the office of the general registrar.

1974, c. 428, § 24.1-233.1; 1978, c. 778; 1991, c. 3; 1993, c. 641; 1994, cc. 287, 742; 1998, cc. 549, 572; 2003, c.1015; 2006, c. 297; 2008, c. 423; 2013, c. 501; 2014, cc. 540, 552, 576; 2015, cc. 313, 644, 645; 2016, cc. 18, 492.

Definition [Department]

The state agency headed by the Commissioner of Elections.

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.

Definition [Political 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.

Definition [Department of Elections]

The state agency headed by the Commissioner of Elections.

Definition [Machine-readable ballot]

A tangible ballot that is marked by a voter or by a system or device operated by a voter and then fed into and scanned by a counting machine capable of reading ballots and tabulating results.

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 [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.

Definition [Board]

The State Board of Elections.

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.

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.