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Voting Rights in Virginia

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As a Virginia Voter, you have the following rights:

To be treated with courtesy and respect by the election officials

To be notified if your voter registration has been accepted or denied.

To vote if you have registered at your current address at least 29 days before Election Day.

To seek help from the election officials if you are unsure about anything relating to the voting process.

To be given a demonstration of how the voting equipment works.

To have your paper ballot voided BEFORE IT IS CAST and be given a new one if you feel you have voted incorrectly. (This applies only if your polling place uses paper or paper–style [punchcard or optical scan] ballot.)

To enter the full name of a write-in candidate if the candidate of your choice is not on the ballot (except in party primaries).
To have a ballot brought to your vehicle instead of entering the polling place if you are 65 years of age or older, or if you are disabled.

To have an officer of election or other person help you vote if you are physically disabled or unable to read or write. Blind voters may have any person assist them. Other voters may have anyone who is not their employer or union representative assist them.

Note: The officer of election or other person so designated who assists you in the preparation of your ballot shall do so in accordance with your instructions, without soliciting your vote or in any manner attempting to influence your vote, and shall not in any manner divulge or indicate, by signs or otherwise, how you voted on any office or question.

To vote even if you have no identification with you at the polling place. You must sign the ¡°Affirmation of Identity¡± statement before voting if you have no ID.
Exception: Voters who registered by mail for the first time in Virginia on or after January 1, 2003, and who did not mail in a copy of their ID at that time, and who fail to show one of the federally-required forms of ID when voting for the first time in a federal election must vote by Provisional Ballot in that election. They may not use the ¡°Affirmation of Identity¡± statement at that election.

To vote a Provisional Ballot if your status as a qualified voter is in question, and to be present when the Electoral Board meets to determine if your ballot will be counted. See ¡°Provisional Ballots¡± below.

To bring your minor child (age 15 or younger) into the voting booth with you to observe you vote.

To vote if you are in line by 7:00 p.m. when the polls close.

To cast an absentee ballot if you are qualified to vote absentee.

To register to vote absentee in Virginia if you are a U.S. Citizen overseas and your last residence in the U. S. was in Virginia, or you are a Virginia resident away in the military.
You cannot be denied the right to vote if you are eligible to do so.

As a Virginia Voter, you have the following responsibilities:

To treat the election officials with courtesy and respect.

To keep your voter registration information up-to-date with your current address.

To show your identification (ID) at the polls. If you do not have an ID with you at the polling place, you may still vote if you sign an Affirmation of Identity statement, depending on your registration status. See ¡°Provisional Ballots¡± below.

To request assistance if you do not know how to use the voting equipment or have other questions about the voting process, or need assistance preparing your ballot because of a physical disability or inability to read or write.

To check your ballot for correctness BEFORE casting it.

To understand that once your ballot is cast, you CANNOT be given another ballot even if you think you voted incorrectly.

To ask the election official to call the General Registrar¡¯s office BEFORE you leave the polling place if you have problems regarding your eligibility to vote or the casting of your ballot.

Provisional Ballots:

A Provisional Ballot is a paper ballot which is cast separately and sealed in a green envelope. An officer of election will assist the voter in completing the information on both sides of the envelope. The voter must provide the information requested and sign the Statement of Voter.

Provisional Ballots are not counted on Election Day. Your local Electoral Board will meet the day after the election to determine whether each provisional voter was qualified to vote. The votes of qualified voters will then be counted and included in the results for your locality.

Provisional voters are allowed to be present when the Electoral Board meets to determine if their vote was valid. The election officials will tell each provisional voter when and where the Electoral Board will meet, and provide a phone number to call to find out if their Provisional Ballot was counted.

Provisional Ballots are used:

When the voter¡¯s name is not on the pollbook, the voter believes he is registered in that precinct, and the registrar¡¯s office cannot be contacted to verify that the voter is registered.

Note: If a voter choose to vote a Provisional Ballot because they are at the wrong polling place and are unable or unwilling to go to the correct polling place, their vote will not be counted.

When a voter who registered by mail on or after January 1, 2003, and did not mail in a copy of their ID at that time, fails to show one of the federally-required forms of ID when voting for the first time in a federal election.

When the normal voting hours are extended by court order.

Acts of Election Fraud and Misrepresentation

No person may procure or submit materially false, fraudulent or fictitious voter registration applications.

No person may submit false information as to name, address, citizenship or period of residence in a voting district for the purpose of establishing eligibility to register or vote in any election.

No person may intentionally register at more than one address at the same time, or vote more than once in the same election.

No person may carry the official ballot furnished by the officers of election further than the voting booth, and should they decide not to vote after receiving the ballot, they shall immediately return the ballot to the officers.

No person may procure, cast or tabulate materially false, fraudulent or fictitious ballots in any election.

No person may pay, offer to pay or accept payment for voting, registering to vote, withholding their vote, or voting for or against any candidate.

No person may intimidate, threaten or coerce any other person: for registering or voting; for urging or aiding persons in registering or voting; for purposes of interfering or influencing how a person chooses to vote or not vote; or for purposes of preventing a person from voting.

No person may steal or willfully, fraudulently, or wrongfully tamper with any part of any ballot container, voting or registration equipment, records, or documents, which are used in any way within the registration or election process.

No person may, by bribery, intimidation, or other means in violation of the election laws, willfully hinder or prevent, or attempt to hinder or prevent, the officers of election at any precinct from holding an election.

Note that the above statements are only a summary of U.S. and Virginia voting laws. They are not meant to amend or supplant those laws.

If you have any questions about your voter registration status or about elections in your locality, please contact your local voter registration office.

How to report violations of election laws & your Rights:
If you feel your voting rights have been violated or that you may have witnessed an election law being broken, contact the State Board of Elections at 1-800-552-9745, or via e-mail at info@sbe.virginia.gov.

(Va. State Board of Elections) 10/31/2008