§ 24.2-607 Prohibited conduct; intimidation of voters; disturbance of election; how prevented; penalties
Overview of Statute
No person shall hinder a qualified voter from casting a secret ballot. No person shall conduct himself in a noisy manner at the polls so as to disturb the election. Violators of these rules are subject to arrest.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to hinder, intimidate, or interfere with any qualified voter so as to prevent the voter from casting a secret ballot. The officers of election may order a person violating this subsection to cease such action. If such person does not promptly desist, the officers of election, or a majority of them, may order the arrest of such person by any person authorized by law to make arrests, and, by their warrant, may commit him to the county or city jail, as the case may be, for a period not exceeding twenty-four hours. Any person violating this subsection shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
B. No person shall conduct himself in a noisy or riotous manner at or about the polls so as to disturb the election or insult or abuse an officer of election. Any person authorized to make arrests may forthwith arrest a person engaging in such conduct and bring him before the officers of the election, and they, by their warrant, may commit him to the county or city jail, as the case may be, for a period not exceeding twenty-four hours; but they shall permit him to vote if he is so entitled.
Code 1950, §§ 24-190, 24-192; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-104; 1993, c. 641 .
- Election Day
- Election Offenses & Penalties
- Regulation of Polling Places
- Voter conduct regulations
Voter intimidation is also a federal crime. See 18 U.S.C. § 594 (“Whoever intimidates, threatens, coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he may choose, or of causing such other person to vote for, or not to vote for, any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Delegate from the District of Columbia, or Resident Commissioner, at any election held solely or in part for the purpose of electing such candidate, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”).
Guns are not prohibited at voting locations in Virginia. Before the 2016 election, a man was reported wearing a Trump shirt and carrying a gun outside of a polling place, offering voters sample Republican ballots and asking them who they were voting for. At least as of now, the man did not violate any law. See http://electionlawblog.org/?p=88831.
1. Definition for Authorized by
Express approval or express consent by the candidate, the candidate’s campaign committee, or an agent of the candidate or his campaign committee after coordination.
See § 24.2-955.1.
2. Definition for 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.
3. Definition for 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.
4. Definition for 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.
5. Definition for Election
A general, primary, or special election.
See § 24.2-101.