2006 Code of Virginia § 24.2-604 - Prohibited activities at polls; notice of prohibited area; presence of representatives of parties o...
24.2-604. Prohibited activities at polls; notice of prohibited area;presence of representatives of parties or candidates; simulated elections;penalties; neutral observers; news media.
A. During the times the polls are open and ballots are being counted, itshall be unlawful for any person (i) to loiter or congregate within 40 feetof any entrance of any polling place; (ii) within such distance to give,tender, or exhibit any ballot, ticket, or other campaign material to anyperson or to solicit or in any manner attempt to influence any person incasting his vote; or (iii) to hinder or delay a qualified voter in enteringor leaving a polling place.
B. Prior to opening the polls, the officers of election shall post, in thearea within 40 feet of any entrance to the polling place, sufficient noticeswhich state "Prohibited Area" in two-inch type. The notices shall alsostate the provisions of this section in not less than 24-point type. Theofficers of election shall post the notices within the prohibited area to bevisible to voters and the public.
C. The officers of election shall permit one authorized representative ofeach political party or independent candidate in a general or specialelection, or one authorized representative of each candidate in a primaryelection, to remain in the room in which the election is being conducted. Ifthe pollbook is divided into sections, the officers shall permit one suchrepresentative for each section, but no more than three representatives ofany political party or independent candidate shall be permitted in the roomat any one time. Each authorized representative shall be a qualified voter ofthe county or city within which the polling place is located. Eachrepresentative shall present to the officers of election a written statementdesignating him to be a representative of the party or candidate and signedby the county or city chairman of his political party, the independentcandidate, or the primary candidate, as appropriate. Such statement, bearingthe chairman's or candidate's original signature, may be photocopied, andsuch photocopy shall be as valid as if the copy had been signed. No candidatewhose name is printed on the ballot shall serve as a representative of aparty or candidate for purposes of this section.
D. It shall be unlawful for any authorized representative, voter, or anyother person in the room to (i) hinder or delay a qualified voter; (ii) give,tender, or exhibit any ballot, ticket, or other campaign material to anyperson; (iii) solicit or in any manner attempt to influence any person incasting his vote; (iv) hinder or delay any officer of election; or (v)otherwise impede the orderly conduct of the election.
E. The officers of election may require any person who is found by a majorityof the officers present to be in violation of this section to remain outsideof the prohibited area. Any person violating subsection A or D of thissection shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
F. This section shall not be construed to prohibit a candidate from enteringany polling place on the day of the election to vote, or to visit a pollingplace for no longer than 10 minutes per polling place per election day,provided that he complies with the restrictions stated in subsections A and Dof this section.
G. This section shall not be construed to prohibit a minor from entering apolling place on the day of the election to vote in a simulated election atthat polling place, provided that the local electoral board has determinedthat such polling place can accommodate simulated election activities withoutinterference or substantial delay in the orderly conduct of the officialvoting process. Persons supervising or working in a simulated election inwhich minors vote may remain within such polling place. The local electoralboard and the chief officer for the polling place shall exercise authorityover, but shall have no responsibility for the administration of, simulatedelection related activities at the polling place.
H. A local electoral board, and its general registrar, may conduct a specialelection day program for high school students, selected by the electoralboard in cooperation with high school authorities, in one or more pollingplaces designated by the electoral board, other than a central absentee voterprecinct. The program shall be designed to stimulate the students' interestin elections and registering to vote, provide assistance to the officers ofelection, and ensure the safe entry and exit of elderly and disabled votersfrom the polling place. Each student shall take and sign an oath as anelection page, serve under the direct supervision of the chief officer ofelection of his assigned polling place, and observe strict impartiality atall times. Election pages may observe the electoral process and seekinformation from the chief officer of election, but shall not handle or touchballots, voting machines, or any other official election materials, or enterany voting booth.
I. A local electoral board may authorize in writing the presence ofadditional neutral observers as it deems appropriate, except as otherwiseprohibited or limited by this section. Such observers shall comply with therestrictions in subsections A and D of this section.
J. The officers of election shall permit representatives of the news media tovisit and film or photograph inside the polling place for a reasonable andlimited period of time while the polls are open. However, the media (i) shallcomply with the restrictions in subsections A and D of this section; (ii)shall not film or photograph any person who specifically asks the mediarepresentative at that time that he not be filmed or photographed; (iii)shall not film or photograph the voter or the ballot in such a way thatdivulges how any individual voter is voting; and (iv) shall not film orphotograph the voter list or any other voter record or material at theprecinct in such a way that it divulges the name or other informationconcerning any individual voter. Any interviews with voters, candidates orother persons, live broadcasts, or taping of reporters' remarks, shall beconducted outside of the polling place and the prohibited area. The officersof election may require any person who is found by a majority of the officerspresent to be in violation of this subsection to leave the polling place andthe prohibited area.
(Code 1950, 24-186, 24-188; 1970, c. 462, 24.1-101; 1971, Ex. Sess., c.119; 1973, c. 30; 1974, c. 428; 1975, c. 515; 1984, c. 480; 1993, cc. 413,641; 1997, c. 328; 2000, cc. 215, 268; 2003, c. 1015.)
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