Code Section
Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > Voter Registration Article 4: Registration of Voters

§ 24.2-422 Appeal of person denied registration

Overview of Statute

This section describes the appeal process to the circuit court that a person denied registration may pursue.


A. Within five days after the denial of an application to register, the general registrar shall notify the applicant of the denial. Notice shall be given in writing and by email or telephone if such information was provided by the applicant.

The general registrar shall send a new application for registration to the applicant with the form prescribed in subsection B. If the applicant provided his email address on the application for registration, the general registrar may send information to that email address regarding online voter registration. The general registrar shall advise the applicant that he may complete and submit the new application, in lieu of filing an appeal, if the reason stated for denial is that the applicant has failed to sign the application or failed to provide a required item of information on the application. If the general registrar is able to reach the applicant by telephone, corrections may be made by the applicant by telephone. Any applicant who returns a second application and whose second application is denied shall have the right to appeal provided in subsection B.

B. A person denied registration shall have the right to appeal, without payment of writ tax or giving security for costs, to the circuit court of the county or city in which he offers to register by filing with the clerk of the court, within 10 days of being notified of the denial, a petition in writing to have his right to register determined.

The petitioner may file his petition by completing and filing a form which shall be prescribed by the State Board and which shall be used by the general registrar to notify an applicant of the denial of his application to register and of the reasons for the denial. The form shall (i) state that an applicant denied registration has the right to appeal to the circuit court of the county or city in which he offers to register, (ii) give the name and address of the clerk of the circuit court for such county or city (to be supplied by the general registrar), (iii) state that a filing fee of $10 must be paid when filing the petition, (iv) contain a statement by which the applicant may indicate his desire to petition the court to have his right to register determined, and (v) provide space for the applicant to state the facts in support of his right to register.

On the filing of a petition to have the right to register determined, the clerk of the court shall immediately bring the matter to the attention of the chief judge of the court for the scheduling of a hearing on the petition. The matter shall be heard and determined on the face of the petition, the answer made in writing by the general registrar, and any evidence introduced as part of the proceedings. The proceedings shall take precedence over all other business of the court and shall be heard as soon as possible.

On the filing of the petition, the clerk of the court shall immediately give notice to the attorney for the Commonwealth for his county or city, who shall appear and defend against the petition on behalf of the Commonwealth.

Judgment in favor of the petitioner shall entitle him to registration. From a judgment rendered against the petitioner, an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court of Virginia.

C. The provisions of § 24.2-416, pertaining to the closing of registration records in advance of an election, shall apply to any application submitted pursuant to subsection A or B following a denial of registration.

Code 1950, § 24-112; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-67; 1974, c. 428; 1985, c. 351; 1993, c. 641; 1997, c. 114; 2001, c. 627; 2019, c. 341; 2020, c. 857.

Definition [State Board]

The State Board of Elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [General Registrar]

The person appointed by the electoral board of a county or city pursuant to § 24.2-110 to be responsible for all aspects of voter registration, in addition to other duties prescribed by this title. When performing duties related to the administration of elections, the general registrar is acting in his capacity as the director of elections for the locality in which he serves.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Registration records]

All official records concerning the registration of qualified voters and shall include all records, lists, applications, and files, whether maintained in books, on cards, on automated data bases, or by any other legally permitted record-keeping method.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Board]

The State Board of Elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [State]

A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

See § 24.2-452.

Definition [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.

Definition [Election]

A general, primary, or special election.

See § 24.2-101.


Virginia Cases

Case Name: Davis v. Allen

Citation: 160 S.E. 85

Year: 1931

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that (1) voter registration application was sufficient even though it showed that the prospective voter had little education, because it gave substantially the information required by the constitution; (2) applicants must answer all questions that concern their eligibility as electors; and (3) registrars may only ask questions concerning the qualifications of any applicant to vote.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Rawlings v. Hardaway

Citation: 427 F.2d 1169

Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court

Year: 1970

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that temporary closing of voter registration books did not deny equal protection of the laws when (1) the registrars did not intend to deny anyone the right to vote and (2) the state provided a remedy for anyone improperly denied registration.

Regulations & Guidance