SB957: Electoral boards; meetings.


Offered January 9, 2013
Prefiled January 7, 2013
A BILL to amend and reenact 24.2-107 and 24.2-115 of the Code of Virginia, relating to electoral boards and officers of election; required meetings.
Patron-- Obenshain

Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1.  That 24.2-107 and 24.2-115 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted as follows:

24.2-107. Meetings; quorum; notice; account of proceedings; seal; records open to inspection.

The electoral board of each city and county shall meet during the first week in February of the year in which it is to appoint officers of election pursuant to 24.2-115 and during the month of March each year at the time set by the board and at any other time on the call of any board member. Two members shall constitute a quorum. Notice of each meeting shall be given to all board members either by the secretary or the member calling the meeting at least three business days prior to the meeting except in the case of an emergency as defined in 2.2-3701. Notice shall be given to the public as required by 2.2-3707. All meetings shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act ( 2.2-3700 et seq.) unless otherwise provided by this section. Notwithstanding the public notice requirements of 2.2-3707, two or more members of an electoral board may meet on election day to discuss a matter concerning that day's election, where such matter requires resolution on that day, and an effort has been made by all available means to give notice of the meeting to all board members. The presence of two or more board members while the ballots, election materials, or voting equipment are being prepared, current or potential polling places are being inspected, or election officials are being trained, shall not constitute a meeting provided that no discussion or deliberation takes place that would otherwise constitute a meeting.

The secretary shall keep an accurate account of all board proceedings in a minute book, including all appointments and removals of general registrars and officers of election. The secretary shall keep in his custody the duly adopted seal of the board.

Books, papers, and records of the board shall be open to public inspection whenever the general registrar's office is open for business either at the office of the board or the office of the general registrar.

No election record containing an individual's social security number, or any part thereof, shall be made available for inspection or copying by anyone. The State Board of Elections shall prescribe procedures for local electoral boards and general registrars to make the information in certificates of candidate qualification available in a manner that does not reveal social security numbers or any parts thereof.

24.2-115. Appointment, qualifications, and terms of officers of election.

Each electoral board at its regular meeting in the first week of February of the year in which the terms of officers of election are scheduled to expire shall appoint officers of election. Their terms of office shall begin on March 1 following their appointment and continue, at the discretion of the electoral board, for a term not to exceed three years or until their successors are appointed.

Not less than three competent citizens shall be appointed for each precinct and, insofar as practicable, each officer shall be a qualified voter of the precinct he is appointed to serve, but in any case a qualified voter of the Commonwealth. In appointing the officers of election, representation shall be given to each of the two political parties having the highest and next highest number of votes in the Commonwealth for Governor at the last preceding gubernatorial election. The representation of the two parties shall be equal at each precinct having an equal number of officers and shall vary by no more than one at each precinct having an odd number of officers. If practicable, officers shall be appointed from lists of nominations filed by the political parties entitled to appointments. The party shall file its nominations with the secretary of the electoral board at least 10 days before February 1 each year. The electoral board may appoint additional citizens who do not represent any political party to serve as officers but not as the chief officer or the assistant chief officer. If practicable, no more than one-third of the total number of officers appointed for each precinct may be citizens who do not represent any political party.

Officers of election shall serve for all elections held in their respective precincts during their terms of office unless the electoral board decides that fewer officers are needed for a particular election, in which case party representation shall be maintained as provided above. For a primary election involving only one political party, persons representing the political party holding the primary shall serve as the officers of election if possible.

The electoral board shall designate one officer as the chief officer of election and one officer as the assistant for each precinct. The officer designated as the assistant for a precinct, whenever practicable, shall not represent the same political party as the chief officer for the precinct. The electoral board may also appoint at least one officer of election who reports to the precinct at least one hour prior to the closing of the precinct and whose primary responsibility is to assist with closing the precinct and reporting the results of the votes at the precinct.

The electoral board shall instruct each chief officer and assistant in his duties not less than three nor more than 30 days before each election. Each electoral board may instruct each officer of election in his duties at an appropriate time or times before each November general election, and shall conduct training of the officers of election consistent with the standards set by the State Board pursuant to subsection B of 24.2-103. Each electoral board shall certify to the State Board that such training has been conducted every four years.

If an officer of election is unable to serve at any election during his term of office, the electoral board may at any time appoint a substitute who shall hold office and serve for the unexpired term.

Additional officers shall be appointed in accordance with this section at any time that the electoral board determines that they are needed.

If practicable, substitute officers or additional officers appointed after the electoral board's regular meeting in the first week of February shall be appointed from lists of nominations filed by the political parties entitled to appointments. The electoral board shall inform the political parties of its decision to make such appointments and the party shall file its nominations with the secretary of the electoral board within five business days.

The secretary of the electoral board shall prepare a list of the officers of election that shall be available for inspection and posted in the general registrar's office prior to March 1 each year. Whenever substitute or additional officers are appointed, the secretary shall promptly add the names of the appointees to the public list. Upon request and at a reasonable charge not to exceed the actual cost incurred, the secretary shall provide a copy of the list of the officers of election, including their party designation and precinct to which they are assigned, to any requesting political party or candidate.