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Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > Absentee Voting

§ 24.2-705 Emergency applications and absentee ballots for persons incapacitated or hospitalized

Overview of Statute

This section allows for emergency absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots for persons who become incapacitated shortly before an election.


A. Any person registered and otherwise qualified to vote may request at any time prior to 2:00 p.m. on the day preceding the election that he be permitted to vote by emergency absentee ballot with the assistance of his designated representative. The Department shall prescribe a form and the instructions for submitting such a request to the general registrar that shows that the voter requesting an emergency absentee ballot was unable to apply for an absentee ballot by the deadline due to his hospitalization or illness, or the hospitalization, illness, or death of a spouse, child, or parent, or other emergency found to justify receipt of an emergency absentee ballot.

The representative designated by a voter for purposes of this subsection shall be age 18 or older and shall not be an elected official, a candidate for elected office, or the deputy, spouse, parent, or child of an elected official or candidate.

The requesting voter shall sign the form and state, subject to felony penalties for making false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, that to the best of his knowledge and belief the facts contained in the form are true and correct. His signature shall be witnessed by the designated representative, who shall sign and return the completed form to the office of the general registrar no later than 5:00 p.m. on the day preceding the election. If the requesting voter is blind or physically unable to sign the form, his designated representative shall write on the signature line that the voter is blind or unable to sign his form.

On receipt of the completed form and a determination of the qualification of the requesting voter to vote, the general registrar shall provide, in accordance with the applicable provisions of this chapter, an absentee ballot to the designated representative for delivery to the requesting voter.

The requesting voter shall vote the absentee ballot as provided by law and mark it in the presence of the designated representative. The designated representative shall complete a statement, subject to felony penalties for making false statements pursuant to § 24.2-1016, that (i) he is the designated representative of the requesting voter; (ii) he personally delivered the ballot to the voter who applied for it; (iii) in his presence, the voter marked the ballot, the ballot was placed in the envelope provided, the envelope was sealed, and the statement on its reverse side was signed by the requesting voter; and (iv) the ballot was returned, under seal, to the general registrar at the registrar’s office.

The ballot shall be counted only if the ballot is received by the general registrar prior to the close of polls, and the general registrar shall deliver the ballot to the officers of election at each appropriate precinct pursuant to § 24.2-710.

B. A qualified voter may vote absentee in person in the office of the general registrar through 2:00 p.m. on the day immediately preceding the election by complying with the requirements of § 24.2-643 and affirming that one of the following emergency circumstances will prevent him from voting on election day:

1. After 12:00 p.m. on the Saturday before the election, an obligation arose that requires the voter be absent from his county or city on election day for (i) his business, profession, or occupation; (ii) the hospitalization of the voter or a member of his immediate family; or (iii) the death of a member of his immediate family. For purposes of this subdivision, “immediate family” means the child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, legal guardian, sibling, or spouse of the voter.

2. The voter is an officer of election who was assigned after 12:00 p.m. on the Saturday before the election to work in a precinct other than his own on election day.

C. The Commissioner of Elections may act administratively to facilitate absentee voting by qualified voters who are emergency workers or utility workers or who otherwise respond to and offer assistance to an area in which a state of emergency has been declared by an appropriate authority. These administrative actions may include central issuance and acceptance of absentee ballots for federal and state elections using the systems and procedures developed for voters who are members of a uniformed service.

1989, c. 192, § 24.1-229.1; 1990, c. 200; 1993, cc. 420, 641; 1996, c. 224; 1997, cc. 523539; 1999, c. 590; 2001, c. 622; 2006, c. 297; 2008, c. 880; 2015, cc. 644645; 2020, cc. 28911571163.

Definition [Department]

The state agency headed by the Commissioner of Elections.

See § 24.2-101.

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 [Uniformed service]

a. Active and reserve components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard of the United States;

b. The Merchant Marine, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, or the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States; or

c. The Virginia National Guard.

See § 24.2-452.

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 [Officer of election]

A person appointed by an electoral board pursuant to § 24.2-115 to serve at a polling place for any election.

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.

Definition [Precinct]

The territory designated by the governing body of a county, city, or town to be served by one polling place.

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.