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Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > The Election Article 5. Special Elections

§ 24.2-685 Special elections; request for abolition of constitutional offices

Overview of Statute

This section covers a specific type of special elections: those on the abolition of any constitutional office conducted prior to a request for a special act of the General Assembly to abolish such office.


A. The provisions of this section shall be applicable to the holding of any referendum, elsewhere authorized by law, on the abolition of any constitutional office conducted prior to a request for a special act of the General Assembly to abolish such office.

B. Notwithstanding any other provision of general law or any special act, no referendum subject to the provisions of this section shall be held unless:

1. Petitions are filed with the circuit court of the county or city requesting that a referendum be held to authorize a request for a special act on the abolition of the named office;

2. The petitions are signed by qualified voters of the county or city equal in number to 20 percent of the total vote cast in the county or city for presidential electors in the last preceding presidential election; and

3. The petitions are filed with the court within 90 days of the first signature on the petitions, and the petitions show the date each signature was affixed.

C. Upon filing of a valid petition, the court shall order the election and state the question to be placed on the ballot in its order. The court shall order the referendum to be held at the next general election for members of the governing body of the county or city held at least 81 days after the date of the order.

D. After a referendum is conducted pursuant to this section with respect to the abolition of a particular office, no other referendum with respect to the abolition of the same office shall be held in the same county or city pursuant to this section for a period of eight years.

E. No special act authorizing the abolition of any such office shall be considered by the General Assembly without court certification that a referendum has been conducted pursuant to this section and that a majority of the qualified voters voting thereon have approved the request for a special act.

1985, c. 586, § 24.1-165.1; 1993, c. 641; 2011, c. 599.

Definition [Referendum]

Any election held pursuant to law to submit a question to the voters for approval or rejection.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Authorized by]

Express approval or express consent by the candidate, the candidate’s campaign committee, or an agent of the candidate or his campaign committee after coordination.

See § 24.2-955.1.

Definition [Qualified voter]

A person who is entitled to vote pursuant to the Constitution of Virginia and who is (i) 18 years of age on or before the day of the election or qualified pursuant to § 24.2-403 or subsection D of § 24.2-544, (ii) a resident of the Commonwealth and of the precinct in which he offers to vote, and (iii) a registered voter. No person who has been convicted of a felony shall be a qualified voter unless his civil rights have been restored by the Governor or other appropriate authority. No person adjudicated incapacitated shall be a qualified voter unless his capacity has been reestablished as provided by law. Whether a signature should be counted towards satisfying the signature requirement of any petition shall be determined based on the signer of the petition’s qualification to vote. For purposes of determining if a signature on a petition shall be included in the count toward meeting the signature requirements of any petition, “qualified voter” shall include only persons maintained on the Virginia voter registration system (a) with active status and (b) with inactive status who are qualified to vote for the office for which the petition was circulated.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [General election]

An election held in the Commonwealth on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November or on the first Tuesday in May for the purpose of filling offices regularly scheduled by law to be filled at those times.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Constitutional office]

A county or city office or officer referred to in Article VII, Section 4 of the Constitution of Virginia: clerk of the circuit court, attorney for the Commonwealth, sheriff, commissioner of the revenue, and treasurer.

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 [Election]

A general, primary, or special election.

See § 24.2-101.