HB1202: Elections, State Board of; supervisory authority over local electoral boards and general registrars.

HOUSE BILL NO. 1202
Offered January 13, 2010
Prefiled January 13, 2010
A BILL to amend and reenact §§ 24.2-103 and 24.2-105.1 of the Code of Virginia, relating to oversight of local election offices.
Patron-- Brink

Committee Referral Pending

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That §§ 24.2-103 and 24.2-105.1 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 24.2-103. Powers and duties in general.

A. The State Board shall supervise and coordinate the work of the county and city electoral boards and of the registrars to obtain uniformity in their practices and proceedings and legality and purity in all elections. It shall make rules and regulations and issue instructions and provide information consistent with the election laws to the electoral boards and registrars to promote the proper administration of election laws. Electoral boards and registrars shall provide information requested by the Board and shall follow (i) the elections laws and (ii) the rules and regulations of the Board insofar as they do not conflict with Virginia or federal law. The Board or its designee has the authority to make reasonable inspections of any polling place, office of general registrar, or office of electoral board.

B. The Board shall ensure that the members of the electoral boards and general registrars are properly trained to carry out their duties by offering training annually, or more often, as it deems appropriate, and without charging any fees to the electoral boards and general registrars for the training. The Board shall set the training standards for the officers of election to be fulfilled by the local electoral boards and general registrars.

C. The Board may institute proceedings pursuant to § 24.2-234 for the removal of any member of an electoral board who fails to discharge the duties of his office in accordance with law. The Board may petition the local electoral board to remove from office any general registrar who fails to discharge the duties of his office according to law. The Board may institute proceedings pursuant to § 24.2-234 for the removal of a general registrar if the local electoral board refuses to remove the general registrar and the State Board finds that the failure to remove the general registrar has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of either the registrar's office or any election. Any action taken by the Board pursuant to this subsection shall require a recorded majority vote of the Board.

D. The Board may petition a circuit court or the Supreme Court, whichever is appropriate, for a writ of mandamus or prohibition, or other available legal relief, for the purpose of ensuring that elections are conducted as provided by law.

E. The Board shall supervise its own staff to assure that no member of its staff shall serve (i) as the chairman of a political party or other officer of a state-, local-, or district-level political party committee or (ii) as a paid or volunteer worker in the campaign of a candidate for nomination or election to an office filled by election in whole or in part by the qualified voters of the Commonwealth.

F. The Board shall adopt a seal for its use and bylaws for its own proceedings.

§ 24.2-105.1. Election and voter participation information on the Internet.

A. Beginning with the general election in November 1998, the State Board shall implement a system by which it shall furnish lists of candidates for all elections in the Commonwealth, and information on proposed constitutional amendments and statewide referenda prepared pursuant to §§ 30-19.9 and 30-19.10, electronically through the Internet. The Board may list other referenda issues on the Internet. The lists and information shall be made available on the Internet as far in advance of the election as practicable and remain available on the Internet at least until the day after the election.

B. The State Board shall provide election results and statistical information on its website. The information shall include voter turnout information which shall be calculated as the percentage of active voters who voted excluding voters assigned to inactive status pursuant to Chapter 4 (§ 24.2-400 et seq.). The information shall also include the total number of registered voters and the number assigned to inactive status.

C. The State Board shall develop and implement a uniform set of performance measures for evaluating the integrity of elections and the proper administration of election laws by electoral boards and general registrars. The State Board shall provide the results of the performance measures on its website and shall update this information at least annually.