Code Section
Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > Candidates For Office Article 4. Conduct of Primaries

§ 24.2-530 Who may vote in primary


All persons qualified to vote, pursuant to §§ 24.2-400 through 24.2-403, may vote at the primary. No person shall vote for the candidates of more than one party.

Code 1950, § 24-367; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-182; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 205; 1976, c. 616; 1993, c. 641 .

Definition [Party]

An organization of citizens of the Commonwealth which, at either of the two preceding statewide general elections, received at least 10 percent of the total vote cast for any statewide office filled in that election. The organization shall have a state central committee and an office of elected state chairman which have been continually in existence for the six months preceding the filing of a nominee for any office.

See § 24.2-101.

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 [Primary]

An election held for the purpose of selecting a candidate to be the nominee of a political party for election to office.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Candidate]

A person who seeks or campaigns for an office of the Commonwealth or one of its governmental units in a general, primary, or special election and who is qualified to have his name placed on the ballot for the office. “Candidate” shall include a person who seeks the nomination of a political party or who, by reason of receiving the nomination of a political party for election to an office, is referred to as its nominee. For the purposes of Chapters 8 (§ 24.2-800 et seq.), 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.), and 9.5 (§ 24.2-955 et seq.), “candidate” shall include any write-in candidate. However, no write-in candidate who has received less than 15 percent of the votes cast for the office shall be eligible to initiate an election contest pursuant to Article 2 (§ 24.2-803 et seq.) of Chapter 8. For the purposes of Chapters 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.) and 9.5 (§ 24.2-955 et seq.), “candidate” shall include any person who raises or spends funds in order to seek or campaign for an office of the Commonwealth, excluding federal offices, or one of its governmental units in a party nomination process or general, primary, or special election; and such person shall be considered a candidate until a final report is filed pursuant to Article 3 (§ 24.2-947 et seq.) of Chapter 9.3.

See § 24.2-101.


Virginia Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Miller v. Brown

Citation: 503 F.3d 360

Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court

Year: 2007

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that when an incumbent state senator designated a primary as the method of nomination and the senator’s political committee chose to exclude primary voters who previously participated in the nomination process of other political parties, Virginia’s open primary law was unconstitutional as applied to the political committee and its chairman because it severely burdened the associational rights of the committee and its chairman. Virginia did not have a compelling state interest in preserving open primaries, because (1) the state already allowed closed presidential primaries; (2) there was no indication that the restrictions proposed by the committee would have violated federal law; (3) preserving an individual’s privacy regarding political preferences was not a compelling state interest; and (4) encouraging voter participation did not justify the burden that the open primary law placed on the right of association.

Case Name: Miller v. Brown

Citation: 465 F. Supp. 2d 584

Federal District Court: Eastern District of Virginia

Year: 2006

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that when a political party’s discretion was foreclosed by an incumbent’s selection of a forced open primary, the effect undermined the party’s right of free association.

Case Name: Wood v. Meadows

Citation: 207 F.3d 708

Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court

Year: 2000

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that a voter who signs a petition supporting an independent candidate’s efforts to be placed on the ballot does not relinquish the right to vote in a party primary.

Regulations & Guidance