Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Elections
State Board of Elections
Voter Registration [1 VAC 20 ‑ 40]
Chapter is Exempt from Article 2 of the Administrative Process Act


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6/18/13  1:54 pm
Commenter: W.T Latham

Amending 1 VAC 20-40-40

In 1 VAC 20-40-40(C), there is lack of clarity. One part of the paragraph says that the "general registrar shall request the information in writing on a form prescribed by the board and the applicant shall respond in writing." Later in the same paragraph, if the applicant does not provide the information by the last day to register, "and the general registrar is unable to determine the applicant's residency through any other means," then the registrar is to deny the application.

There are at least a couple of issues created by the wording of paragraph (C):

  • What does "any other means" mean, and how does this mesh with the requirement that the applicant must respond in writing?
  • What happens when the application is received so near the close of books that it is impossible, or at best impractical, for the registrar to mail a form to the applicant requesting information that would allow the application to be accepted?


CommentID: 28565

6/18/13  1:59 pm
Commenter: W.T. Latham

Amending 1 VAC 20-40-50

I recommend adding, after the question "Do you have a specific plan to move away from this county or city at a fixed date in the future?" the following question: "If so, when?"

The purpose in adding this question would be to allow the voter to explain whether the departure is based on a future contingency (which would allow the application to be accepted). See 1 VAC 20-40-20(B)(2). The voter's additional information would allow the registrar to make a better-informed judgment about the applicant's "specific plan" to move away from the county or city.

If this section of the Administrative Code is amended, then the letter would also need to be amended.

CommentID: 28566

6/18/13  2:06 pm
Commenter: W.T. Latham

Harmonizing 1 VAC 20-40-60 and 1 VAC 20-40-40

1 VAC 20-40-60(D) requires that the applicant's answers to the supplemental questions "must be in writing and must be returned before the last day to register as established in 24.2-416 of the Code of Virginia." 1 VAC 20-40-40(C) allows the registrar to use "any other means" to establish the applicant's residency.

Accordingly, a couple of issues are presented:

  • 20-40-60(D) and 20-40-40(C) appear to be contradictory.
  • The requirement that the form should be returned before the last day to register should probably be worded such that the form should be returned before the close of books. I think that latter is what was intended, but that's not exactly what the words say.
CommentID: 28567

6/18/13  2:11 pm
Commenter: W.T. Latham

Amending 1 VAC 20-40-70

1 VAC 20-40-70(A)(2) states that "[a]pplications for voter registration must be signed by the applicant or the name and address of the assistant entered on the signature line for an applicant with physical disability."

On the application, however, the instructions are as follows: "If applicant is unable to sign due to a physical disability, write the name/address of person who assisted. (Required)." The line referred to in these instructions is not the signature line.

I suggest changing the wording of 20-40-70(A)(2) to reflect that the instructions on the form must be followed. At this time, the person assisting the disabled voter is not being instructed to put anything on the signature line.

CommentID: 28568

6/18/13  2:18 pm
Commenter: W.T. Latham

Amending 1 VAC 20-40-70 (Part 2)

Additional recommended changes to 1 VAC 20-40-70:

  • Indent 20-40-70(D)(2) and 20-40-70(D)(3) and make them "a" and "b," respectively, under 1 VAC 20-40-70(D)(1).
  • In 20-40-70(E), registrars are required, "if practicable," to attempt to contact the applicant and obtain the missing information requested on an application for voter registration that is not material to determining eligibility to vote." First, this is not practicable. Second, the pieces of information listed in 20-40-70(B) as being nonmaterial are not necessarily beneficial to processing an application, and the Administrative Code should not place such an unnecessary burden on scarce registration and election resources.
CommentID: 28569

6/18/13  2:20 pm
Commenter: W.T. Latham

Amending 1 VAC 20-40-70 (Part 3)

I inadvertently left off my final recommendation for 1 VAC 20-40-70 in my previous post. Here it is:

Delete the word "signed" in 20-40-70(F). This would allow the voter to update the information by email.

CommentID: 28570

6/20/13  4:51 pm
Commenter: W.T. Latham

Amending 1 VAC 20-40-80

I suggest making 20-40-80 apply to the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) as well as the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Such a change would make it clear that, while the ballot portion of an emailed or faxed FWAB could not be counted (because ballots cannot be emailed or faxed back to electoral boards), the registration portion of the FWAB could be accepted and processed as a voter registration.

CommentID: 28602