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2021 SPECIAL SESSION I


CHAPTER 204
An Act to amend and reenact 24.2-701.1 of the Code of Virginia, relating to absentee voting; early in person; availability on Sundays.
[H 1968]
Approved March 18, 2021

 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That 24.2-701.1 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

24.2-701.1. 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. In the case of a special election, excluding for federal offices, if time is insufficient between the issuance of the writ calling for the special election and the date of the special election, absentee voting in person shall be available as soon as possible after the issuance of the writ.

Any registered voter offering to vote absentee in person 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 voter's name and address on the absentee voter applicant list maintained pursuant to 24.2-706.

Except as provided in subsection F, 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 allowed to vote after signing a statement, subject to felony penalties for false statements pursuant to 24.2-1016, that he is the named registered voter he claims to be. A voter who requires assistance in voting by reason of a physical disability or an inability to read or write, and who requests assistance pursuant to 24.2-649, may be assisted in preparation of this statement in accordance with that section. The provisions of 24.2-649 regarding voters who are unable to sign shall be followed when assisting a voter in completing this statement. A voter who does not show one of the forms of identification specified in this subsection or does not sign this statement 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 24.2-653.01 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 offices 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. The electoral board or general registrar may provide for absentee voting in person in such offices on Sundays. Any applicant who is in line to cast his ballot when the office of the general registrar or voter satellite office closes shall be permitted to cast his absentee ballot that day.

C. 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.

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 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.

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.

F. This subsection shall apply in the case of any individual who is required by subparagraph (b) of 52 U.S.C. 21083 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to show identification the first time he votes in a federal election in the state. At such election, such individual shall present (i) a current and valid photo identification or (ii) a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter. Such individual who desires to vote in person but who does not show one of the forms of identification specified in this subsection shall be offered a provisional ballot under the provisions of 24.2-653. The identification requirements of subsection B of 24.2-643 and subsection A of 24.2-653 shall not apply to such voter at such election. The Department of Elections shall provide instructions to the electoral boards for the handling and counting of such provisional ballots pursuant to 24.2-653.01 and this section.