About Virginia Elections


To vote in the November 5, 2019 Commonwealth General Election, you must register by October 13, 2019.

Offices on the ballot:  State Senate and House of Delegates and Virginia City and County officeholders

The Virginia Department of Elections based in the capital city of Richmond is responsible for overseeing elections in Virginia.  Christopher E. “Chris” Piper has been appointed as the Commissioner.

Web elections.virginia.gov
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Email:   info@elections.virginia.gov
Address:  Washington Building, First Floor
1100 Bank Street, Richmond 23219
Number:  (804) 864-8901  Toll Free: (800) 552-9745
Office Hours:  8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.   Monday through Friday

Voter Registration Video

Voting Eligibility

To be eligible to vote, you must be:

  1. A U.S. citizen
  2. A resident of Virginia
  3. At least 18 years old by the next general election

If you have been convicted of a felony, you must have your voting rights restored.
If you were declared mentally incapacitated, you must have your capacity restored by court order.

Student Voters

You must register to vote before you may vote in Virginia.

If you are a student living at school in Virginia, you can choose whether to register at home or at school. But you may not register at both! Decide which location you consider to be your primary home, and register to vote there.

When you move, be sure to update your voter registration with your new address.

For more information, go this Virginia Elections web page.

Voter Photo ID

You will need to show one acceptable photo identification card (photo ID) whenever you vote in person. This is Virginia law for all voters.

Many types of photo ID are acceptable for voting in Virginia. You only need to show ONE acceptable photo ID to vote.

Photo IDs can be used to vote up to one year after the ID has expired.

Need a Photo ID?

If you don’t have an ID, simply go to your nearest voter registration office to get a free Voter Photo ID, even on Election Day! You will be required to complete an photo ID application, have your photo taken and to sign a digital signature pad.

Forgot your photo ID on Election Day?

If you get to your polling place without acceptable photo ID, you can vote a provisional ballot. You will be given instructions on what to do so your vote can count.

Acceptable forms of valid identification

  • Virginia driver’s license
  • Virginia DMV-issued photo ID
  • United States passport
  • Employer-issued photo ID
  • Student photo ID issued by a school, college, or university located in Virginia
  • Other U.S. or Virginia government-issued photo ID
  • Tribal enrollment or other tribal photo ID
  • Virginia Voter Photo ID card


Voter Registration

To register to vote

Go to this page at the Virginia Department of Elections website.

To be eligible to vote, you must be:

  1. A U.S. citizen
  2. A resident of Virginia
  3. At least 18 years old by the next general election

If you have been convicted of a felony, you must have your voting rights restored.
If you were declared mentally incapacitated, you must have your capacity restored by court order.

For registered Voters

Go to this page at the Virginia Department of Elections website to:

  • Access your Virginia Voter Record to update registration
  • Apply to vote absentee
  • View your voter-related information

Update/Check Registration

Go to this page at the Virginia Department of Elections website to:

  • Access your Virginia Voter Record to update registration
  • Apply to vote absentee
  • View your voter-related information

3rd Party Registration Training

Published July 29, 2018 by the Dept. of Elections

Email Department of Elections

General questions: info@elections.virginia.gov

Campaign Finance: cfda@elections.virginia.gov

Media inquiries: media@elections.virginia.gov

We are constantly updating our media list to insure our contacts receive the latest news. Please ensure we have your current contact information. To update your media contacts or to add new media contacts please email Andrea Gaines at andrea.gaines@elections.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 864-8928.

How to become a candidate for office

Candidates for office must meet certain qualifications and are required to file specific documents in order to qualify to appear on the ballot. These qualifications and requirements may vary slightly depending on whether the office sought is a local office, a general assembly seat, a statewide office, or a federal office. Generally, all candidates must meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • Be qualified to vote for and hold the office sought, and
  • Be a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia for one year immediately preceding the election.

The board has developed and published candidate informational bulletins specific to each office type. In addition to the qualifications, forms and filing requirements, candidate information bulletins provide candidates with information he/she will need to run for office.

Excellent summary of “Ballot Access Requirements” here in this Ballotpedia post.

This post from the Virginia Dept. of Elections outlines the requirements on how to access registered voter names and their voting history in state of Virginia. If qualified, here is some of the information one can obtain… “full name, residence address, mailing address, gender, date of birth, registration date, date last registration form received, registration status, locality, precinct, voting districts and voter identification number”.

Instructions for Potential Candidates

  1. Read the candidate bulletin for the office sought.
  2. Complete the Certificate of Candidate Qualification form for the office sought. This form may be filed any time after January 1 of the election year and before the filing deadline of the election. It must be filed before a candidate can purchase a registered voter’s list.
  3. Complete the necessary Campaign Finance documents and review the laws and policies for Campaign Committees.
  4. Complete the appropriate Statement of Economic Interest form, if required.  Effective April 26, 2017, non-incumbent candidates for Statewide and General Assembly offices are required to file a SOEI with the Department of Elections. Also effective April 26, 2017, candidates for constitutional and local offices are required to file a SOEI with their local General Registrar.Candidates for General Assembly offices should complete this form. Candidate for all other offices should completethis form.Candidates for Statewide and General Assembly offices should log in here to upload and submit the completed SOEI form to the Department of Elections.
  5. Complete the Declaration of Candidacy form and Petition of Qualified Voter form ( petition is not required if candidate is participating in non-primary party nomination process ). These forms must be filed together on or before the filing deadline for the election.
  1. Submit all qualifying forms by deadline specified in the Candidate Bulletin.

For more information, go this Virginia Elections web page.

To learn more about running for office in a city or county, go your city or county Board of Elections webpage.

State Board of Elections

The State Board of Elections is authorized to supervise, coordinate, and adopt regulations governing the work of local electoral boards, registrars, and officers of election; to provide electronic application for voter registration and delivery of absentee ballots to eligible military and overseas voters; to establish and maintain a statewide automated voter registration system to include procedures for ascertaining current addresses of registrants; to prescribe standard forms for registration, transfer and identification of voters; and to require cancellation of records for registrants no longer qualified. Code of VirginiaTitle 24.2, Chapters 14 and 4.1. The Department of Elections conducts the board’s administrative and programmatic operations and discharges the board’s duties consistent with delegated authority.

Wikipedia Entry

Source: Wikipedia

The Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) was created in 1946 as a nonpolitical agency responsible for ensuring uniformity, fairness, accuracy and purity in all elections in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The SBE promotes the proper administration of election laws, campaign finance disclosure compliance, and voter registration processes in the state by promulgating rules, regulations, issuing instructions, and providing information to local electoral boards and general registrars. In addition, the SBE maintains a centralized database of statewide voter registration and election related data.

State Board

The SBE is a three-member body consisting of a chair, vice-chair, and secretary, that manages the electoral process and investigates and adjudicates disputes and campaign law violations. Under the Code of Virginia, “Two Board members shall be of the political party which cast the highest number of votes for Governor at that election.” The Board has power to promulgate rules to initiate Circuit Court proceedings for the removal of county and city electoral board members. It can call on the Attorney General of Virginia to initiate investigations. It also certifies independent and third-party candidates for the ballot, after sending their Petitions of Qualified Voters (nominating petitions) to local registrars for signature counting. The Board has power to prescribe such forms. It posts lists of candidates on the Internet.

Ballot access

Virginia has one of the most restrictive set of ballot access laws in the United States. According to the Code of Virginia subsection 24.2-101, without “major party” status for automatic ballot access in Virginia, minor party and independent candidates have to gather petition signatures to get on the ballot. For example, the requirement for statewide elections is 10,000 signatures, including at least 400 from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts. In order for a minor party to gain automatic ballot access as a major party, one of its nominated candidates must receive 10% of the vote in a statewide race. To obtain the signatures necessary to receive statewide ballot access in Virginia, it has been quoted to cost between $45,000 to $90,000 or up to $100,000.


The Virginia State Board of Elections has been a party in a number of lawsuits.

Sarvis v. Judd

In July 2014, The Rutherford Institute supported the Libertarian Party of Virginia and alleged Virginia ballot laws favored “the election chances of Democrat and Republican candidates at the expense of Libertarian Party and independent candidates.”

In Robert C. Sarvis, et al. v. Charles E. Judd, et al, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Libertarian Party of Virginia, several Libertarian Party candidates and an independent (non-party) candidate for public office in the November 2014 general election. The lawsuit challenged the Virginia State Board of Elections and the laws which require minor-party candidates to gather signatures on petitions to achieve ballot access as well as the laws which require minor-party and independent candidates’ names to be placed below those of major-party candidates on the ballot.

Libertarian Party of Virginia v. Judd

In 2013, the ACLU supported the Libertarian Party of Virginia, and contended that the Libertarians would suffer “irreparable harm” given Virginia’s ballot access laws.

In Libertarian Party of Virginia v. Judd, the Libertarian Party won the case regarding state residency requirements for petition circulators per the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on May 29, 2013. It was the first time a minor party had won a constitutional election law case in the Fourth Circuit since 1989 and 1988. In response to the Fourth Circuit’s ruling, the State of Virginia via former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as well as several other states, like Oklahoma, submitted petitions to the Supreme Court of the United States asking to reverse the Fourth Circuit’s decision. On December 2, 2013, the petitions against the Fourth Circuit’s ruling were denied by the Supreme Court, and so the Libertarian Party of Virginia won the case regarding state residency requirements for petition circulators.

Perry v. Judd

In January 2012, Texas Governor Rick Perry, former senator Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. failed to qualify for the ballot and sued the State Board of Elections. U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. denied the request to add their names to Virginia’s Republican primary ballot.

Project Vote v. Long

In February 2010, after receiving reports from local community partners regarding large numbers of rejected voter registration applications, Project Vote and its voting partner, Advancement Project, sought to review Norfolk’s rejected registration applications to ascertain if qualified persons were unlawfully kept off the voting rolls. Elisa Long, the general registrar of Norfolk, and Nancy Rodrigues, secretary of the State Board of Elections denied Project Vote and Advancement Project the right to review the records, and both groups filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia.

In July 2011, the Court granted Project Vote’s Motion for Summary Judgment and ordered the Norfolk County Registrar “to permit access to any requesting party for copy and/or inspection of voter registration applications and related records,” in compliance with public disclosure requirements under the National Voter Registration Act.

Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections

In Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966) the U.S. Supreme Court found that Virginia’s poll tax was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The 24th Amendment (1964) prohibited poll taxes in federal elections. However, five states continued to impose a poll tax for voters in state elections. By this ruling, the Supreme Court banned the use of a poll tax in state elections.


Commissioner, Virginia Department of Elections
Deputy Commissioner, Virginia Department of Elections


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