Vol. 38 Iss. 1 - August 30, 2021

Chapter 70

REGISTRAR'S NOTICE: The State Board of Elections is claiming an exemption from the Administrative Process Act pursuant to § 2.2-4002 B 8 of the Code of Virginia, which exempts agency action relating to the conduct of elections or eligibility to vote.

Title of Regulation: 1VAC20-70. Absentee Voting (adding 1VAC20-70-80).

Statutory Authority: § 24.2-103 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective Date: August 11, 2021.

Agency Contact: Ashley Coles, Agency Regulatory Coordinator, Department of Elections, Washington Building, 1100 Bank Street, First Floor, Richmond, VA 23219, telephone (804) 864-8933, or email


The amendments (i) clarify the absentee ballot witness signature requirements; (ii) provide election officials time to prepare for absentee balloting in advance of an election, and (iii) establish uniformity among the submission of absentee ballots during the 45-day absentee voting period leading up to Election Day.

1VAC20-70-80. Absentee ballot witness signatures during qualifying state of emergency.

A. "Declared state of emergency related to a communicable disease of public health threat" or "state of emergency" means a state of emergency declared by the Governor of Virginia pursuant to the Governor's authority under Article V, Section 7 of the Constitution of Virginia in response to a communicable disease of public health threat, as defined in § 44-146.16 of the Code of Virginia.

B. If such a state of emergency is declared prior to the start of in-person absentee voting under § 24.2-701.1 of the Code of Virginia for an election and is ongoing at the beginning of the in-person absentee voting period, then a witness signature is not required on any absentee ballot otherwise validly submitted for that election. This rule applies to all absentee ballots submitted for that election, including any absentee ballot submitted after the state of emergency has ended.

C. If the Governor of Virginia declares such a state of emergency during the in-person absentee voting period preceding Election Day, no absentee ballot returned after such declaration of state of emergency requires a witness signature. This rule applies to any absentee ballots submitted after the state of emergency has ended.

VA.R. Doc. No. R22-6853; Filed August 05, 2021