Constitutional officers; form of ballot, party identification of candidates on ballots. (SB39)

Introduced By

Sen. Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake) with support from co-patron Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Midlothian)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Elections; form of ballot; party identification of candidates on ballots; constitutional officers. Extends to elections for constitutional officers the requirement that ballots identify the nominating political party for party candidates and identify independent candidates as such. Currently, this requirement applies only to federal, statewide, and General Assembly elections. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


12/27/2021Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22100384D
12/27/2021Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/18/2022Reported from Privileges and Elections (13-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
01/20/2022Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/21/2022Impact statement from DPB (SB39)
01/21/2022Read second time and engrossed
01/24/2022Read third time and passed Senate (25-Y 15-N) (see vote tally)
02/21/2022Placed on Calendar
02/21/2022Read first time
02/21/2022Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
03/01/2022Assigned P & E sub: Subcommittee #2
03/02/2022Subcommittee recommends passing by indefinitely (5-Y 3-N)
03/08/2022Left in Privileges and Elections

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB1262.


Steve Richardson writes:

This bill escalates partisan warfare that is already dividing us and making it difficult for public servants to do what they are elected to do - which is to serve all constituents. Why do we need to know whether our Sheriff, Treasurer, Attorney, Revenue Commissioner, or Clerk of Circuit Court align with a political party or not? Of what value is alignment with any political party for doing those jobs? Who will be discouraged from running because they don't want to be associated with (meaning beholden to) the RPV or DPV?

Mike Cantwell writes:

SB39 and HB1262 disadvantage Independent candidates and Independent voters. If enacted, I also feel it would further nationalize local elections. As a former Independent candidate for the Arlington County Board, I have personal experience with these issues.

Mike Cantwell writes:

My name is Mike Cantwell. I am the Vice President of FairVote Virginia and the Virginia Chapter Leader for Veterans for Political Innovation (VPI). Please consider entering a motion to lay HB1262 on the table.

Under current state and federal law, a retiring active-duty soldier/sailor or a retiring federal government employee has the right to run for a local constitutional office as an Independent. If HB1262 is enacted, they would risk violating federal law (Hatch Act) if they campaign for office in a “partisan election” even if they ran as an Independent.
Over 42% of Americans and over 50% of military personnel self-identify as Independents. Sheriffs, Commissioners of the Revenue, Treasurers, Commonwealth's Attorneys, and Clerks of the Circuit Court should be free from partisan politics. At a minimum, I respectfully ask you to keep the status quo and allow military members and federal government employees to continue to run for local constitutional offices.
HB1262 is unfair, unjust, and anti-democratic. I implore you to lay this bill on the table.


Mike Cantwell
Arlington, Virginia
Retired Naval Officer and 30-year resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia

Elizabeth Melson writes:

I do not support this bill. It is not necessary for these offices to be made partisan. It can also prevent certain military members or people holding government jobs from holding these offices, due to Hatch Act rules.

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