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Virginia Election Law: What Every Candidate Needs to Know! Linda Lindberg, General Registrar Arlington County, Virginia.

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Presentation on theme: "Virginia Election Law: What Every Candidate Needs to Know! Linda Lindberg, General Registrar Arlington County, Virginia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Virginia Election Law: What Every Candidate Needs to Know! Linda Lindberg, General Registrar Arlington County, Virginia

2 April 2008 2 Virginia Election Law What: Code of Virginia, Title 24-2 Where:

3 April 2008 3 Best Advice: Don’t assume ANYTHING! Make sure you understand deadlines and your campaign adheres to them. The candidate has the ultimate responsibility for anything his or her campaign does – penalties are assessed on the candidate.

4 April 2008 4 Key Areas of Focus Running for Office – Do It the Right Way! Voter Registration – More Deadlines Campaign Volunteers and Election Day Activities Calm, Happy Candidate Stressed, Unhappy Candidate

5 April 2008 5 Running for Local Office Get the info – Candidate Information Bulletin, forms, Campaign Finance Guidelines, Candidate Information (State Board of Elections, or SBE) Call your local Office of Voter Registration (OVR)

6 April 2008 6 Most Common Mistakes Made Not understanding the law Not understanding policies Not asking questions

7 April 2008 7 You Are Required to Open a Campaign Committee If... You submit the Statement of Candidate Qualification Form You receive contributions or expend funds Includes personal expenditures You file a primary filing fee or are nominated for the General Election You have otherwise been qualified for placement on the ballot

8 April 2008 8 Opening A Committee All Candidates Must Open a Committee “Committee” is a general term used to describe the entity through which all contributions are received and expenditures are made The committee name must contain at least the last name of the candidate File the Statement of Organization for a Candidate within 10 days of meeting requirements Appoint a treasurer, or serve as your own treasurer Establish a bank account for campaign funds. Must be under the name of the campaign committee – cannot use a personal bank account

9 April 2008 9 The Smart Candidate... Gets the the e-filing software from SBE or OVR and plans to file financial reports electronically. Knows his/her deadlines! All are in the Candidate Information Bulletin. File all required qualifying documents by the filing deadline. Files all required financial reports ON TIME. There can be some pretty steep financial penalties if you miss filing deadlines. Works closely with his/her treasurer to make sure all contributions and expenditures are reported and that reports are filed on time.

10 April 2008 10 Suggestions for Campaign Finance Success Attend a Campaign Finance seminar offered by the SBE. Call the SBE Campaign Finance Division for more information. 804-864-8901 or toll- free in Virginia, 800-552-9745 or email Get the e-filing software! It’s easy and you even get email reminders of when reports are due. Ask questions – call either your local OVR or the SBE Campaign Finance staff.

11 April 2008 11 Voter Registration Chapter 4 of Title 24-2, and Article II of the Constitution of Virginia Basic Requirements in Virginia: U.S. citizen,18 years or older (or will be 18 by the next general election) No felony conviction, or if so had rights restored Not adjudicated mentally incapacitated by the courts, or if so had rights restored Be a resident of the Commonwealth and the precinct where he votes

12 April 2008 12 Residency Under the Virginia Constitution, requires both domicile and place of abode at a Virginia residence address. There are special exceptions for military personnel stationed away from their legal residence and civilian citizens residing temporarily overseas, as well as college students attending school away from home.

13 April 2008 13 Registration Deadlines 29 days before general elections and primaries (will change to 21 days in 2010) Applications submitted by mail must be postmarked by the registration deadline Applications made in person or delivered by third party must be received at registrar’s office by close of business on deadline

14 April 2008 14 Question If someone misses the registration deadline, can he still vote on Election Day? Answer: Any voter is entitled to vote a provisional ballot, but if he is not eligible, his provisional ballot will not be counted.

15 April 2008 15 Voter Registration Drives For helpful information, visit the State Board of Elections website at Select Voter Information, then Registration Guidelines from the left-hand menu.

16 April 2008 16 Campaign Volunteers Voter lists: Unless you use local party resources, you must purchase lists through the SBE, not the OVR Check with your local OVR regarding pollwatcher guidelines

17 April 2008 17 Question Can you post candidate signs wherever you want? Answer: NO! Check with local zone enforcement officials about local regulations for size, location and duration of candidate signs.

18 April 2008 18 Outside the Polls Campaign activity is prohibited within 40 feet from the entrance to the polling place. PLEASE be respectful of voters’ wishes if they don’t want to talk to you or take your literature.

19 April 2008 19 Inside the Polls Pollwatchers must sit behind the check- in desks. They must present proper authorization from the party chair or candidate, as appropriate. Officers of Election are required by law to state aloud the name and address affirmed by the voter. Please don’t ask the O of E to repeat the name more than once, or to go back and check names you’ve missed.

20 April 2008 20 Inside the Polls, cont. Candidates may enter for a minimum of 10 minutes to thank voters and workers or to vote. No campaigning allowed! NO ONE is permitted to display campaign material inside the polls (Code of Virginia, Sec. 24.2-604). Includes pollwatchers, voters, candidates, officers of election No buttons, stickers, or clothing Voters may bring in sample ballots and brochures for their personal use No cell phone or electronic device use is permitted inside the polling place (except for officers of election on official business)

21 April 2008 21 After the Polls Close One person representing each party or independent candidate may remain while results are tabulated. The rep CANNOT LEAVE the polling place until results are called in to the Electoral Board.

22 April 2008 22 Thank you! Questions?

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