|Introduced in House||Passed House||Introduced in Senate||Passed Senate||Became Law|
Absentee voting; voter satellite offices for absentee voting in person.
Authorizes the establishment of voter satellite offices by governing bodies of counties and cities for purposes of absentee voting in person. No change in any voter satellite office, including the creation of a new voter satellite office or abolishment of an existing voter satellite office, may be enacted within the 60 days immediately preceding a general election. The bill requires general registrars to post notice of the locations of all voter satellite offices within the locality, and their days and hours of operation, not later than 55 days prior to any election. Requirements for polling places, including accessibility for persons with disabilities, changes of location due to emergency circumstances, and funding, apply to voter satellite offices. The provisions of the bill are applicable to elections beginning with the general election on November 3, 2020.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
� 24.2-701.1. (Effective for elections beginning with the general election on November 3, 2020) Absentee voting in person.
A. Absentee voting in person shall be available on the forty-fifth day prior to any election and shall continue until 5:00 p.m. on the Saturday immediately preceding the election.
1. Any registered voter eligible to vote absentee pursuant to subsection A of � 24.2-700 may vote absentee in person beginning on the forty-fifth day prior to the election in which he is offering to vote and continuing until the second Friday immediately preceding such election. He shall complete the application for an absentee ballot required by � 24.2-701, and the general registrar shall process that application in accordance with the provisions of � 24.2-706.
2. Any registered voter may vote absentee in person on or after the second Saturday immediately preceding the election in which he is offering to vote. He shall provide his name and his residence address in the county or city in which he is offering to vote. After verifying that the voter is a registered voter of that county or city, the general registrar shall enroll the voters name and address on the absentee voter applicant list maintained pursuant to � 24.2-706.
A registered voter voting by absentee ballot in person shall provide one of the forms of identification specified in subsection B of � 24.2-643. If he does not show one of the forms of identification specified in subsection B of � 24.2-643, he shall be offered a provisional ballot under the provisions of � 24.2-653. The State Board shall provide instructions to the general registrar for the handling and counting of such provisional ballots pursuant to subsection B of � 24.2-653 and this section.
B. Absentee voting in person shall be available during regular
business hours. The electoral board of each county and city shall provide for
absentee voting in person in the office of the general registrar or a voter
satellite office established pursuant to � 24.2-701.2. For purposes of this
chapter, such office shall be open [ to the public
] a minimum of eight hours between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on the
first and second Saturday immediately preceding all elections. Any applicant
who is in line to cast his ballot when the office of the general registrar or
location being used for in-person absentee voting voter satellite office
closes shall be permitted to cast his absentee ballot that day.
Additional locations in the county or city approved by
the electoral boards may be available for absentee voting in person. Any such
location shall be in a public building owned or leased by the county, city, or
town within the county and may be in a facility that is owned or leased by the
Commonwealth and used as a location for Department of Motor Vehicles facilities
or as an office of the general registrar. Any such location shall have adequate
facilities for the protection of all elections materials produced in the
process of absentee voting in person, the voted and unvoted absentee ballots,
and any voting systems in use at the location. D. The general registrar may provide for the casting of
absentee ballots in person pursuant to this section on voting systems. The
Department shall prescribe the procedures for use of voting systems. The
procedures shall provide for absentee voting in person on voting systems that
have been certified and are currently approved by the State Board. The
procedures shall be applicable and uniformly applied by the Department to all
localities using comparable voting systems. E. D. At least two officers of election shall be
present during all hours that absentee voting in person is available and shall
represent the two major political parties, except in the case of a party
primary, when they may represent the party conducting the primary. However,
such requirement shall not apply when (i) voting systems that are being used
pursuant to subsection D C are located in the office of the
general registrar or voter satellite office and (ii) the general registrar
or an assistant registrar is present. F. E. The Department shall include absentee
ballots voted in person in its instructions for the preparation, maintenance,
and reporting of ballots, pollbooks, records, and returns.
� 24.2-701.2. Absentee voting in person; voter satellite offices.
A. The governing body of any county or city may establish, by ordinance, voter satellite offices to be used in the locality for absentee voting in person. The governing body may establish as many offices as it deems necessary. No change in, including the creation or abolishment of, any voter satellite office shall be enacted within 60 days next preceding any general election. Notice shall be published prior to enactment in a newspaper having general circulation in the locality once a week for two successive weeks.
B. Any voter satellite office shall be in a public building owned or leased by the county, city, or town within the county and may be in a facility that is owned or leased by the Commonwealth and used as a location for Department of Motor Vehicles facilities or as an office of the general registrar. Any such location shall have adequate facilities for the protection of all elections materials produced in the process of absentee voting in person, the voted and unvoted absentee ballots, and any voting systems in use at the location.
C. Voter satellite offices shall be accessible to qualified voters as required by the provisions of the Virginians with Disabilities Act (� 51.5-1 et seq.), the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act (52 U.S.C. � 20101 et seq.), and the Americans with Disabilities Act relating to public services (42 U.S.C. � 12131 et seq.). The State Board shall provide instructions to the local electoral boards and general registrars to assist the localities in complying with the requirements of the acts.
D. The governing body of each county, city, and town shall provide funds to enable the general registrar to provide adequate facilities at each voter satellite office for the conduct of elections.
E. Not later than 55 days prior to any election, the general registrar shall post notice of all voter satellite office locations in the locality and the dates and hours of operation of each location in the office of the general registrar and on the official website for the county or city. Such notice shall remain in the office of the general registrar and on the official website for the county or city for the duration of the period during which absentee voting in person is available. If the county or city does not have an official website, such notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or city at least once prior to the election but not later than 55 days prior to such election.
F. If an emergency makes a voter satellite office unusable or inaccessible, the electoral board or the general registrar shall provide an alternative voter satellite office, subject to the approval of the State Board, and shall give notice of the change in the location of the voter satellite office. The general registrar shall provide notice to the voters appropriate to the circumstances of the emergency. For the purposes of this subsection, "emergency" means a rare and unforeseen combination of circumstances, or the resulting state, that calls for immediate action.
G. The provisions of subsection E of � 24.2-310 providing certain limited circumstances in which a local electoral board may approve an exception to the prohibition on the distribution of campaign materials inside the prohibited area outside of a polling place shall apply to voter satellite offices and the building in which such offices may be located.
H. A voter satellite office established pursuant to this section shall be deemed to be the equivalent of an office of the general registrar for purposes of completing an application for an absentee ballot in person pursuant to �� 24.2-701, 24.2-701.1, and 24.2-706.
2. That the provisions of � 24.2-701.2 of the Code of Virginia, as created by this act, shall apply to elections beginning with the general election on November 3, 2020.
|01/20/2020||Senate||Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)|
|01/17/2020||Senate||Senate: Printed as engrossed 20102713D-E|
|01/16/2020||Senate||Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N)|
|01/14/2020||Senate||Senate: Reported from Privileges and Elections with amendment (15-Y 0-N)|
|01/07/2020||Senate||Senate: Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20102713D|
|01/07/2020||Senate||Senate: Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections|