Fairfax County to Comply with SBE Ruling

Oct. 28, 2008 

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Based on today’s ruling by the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE), all jurisdictions in the commonwealth, including Fairfax County, will now count federal write-in absentee ballots that were previously denied because of missing information.

“I’m very happy this issue, which was created by the legislature, has been resolved. We always wanted to count these votes, and I am pleased we now have the go-ahead to do so,” said Fairfax County General Registrar Rokey Suleman.

According to Virginia Code § 24.2-702.1, a federal write-in absentee ballot that is being submitted as both an absentee ballot application and as a completed absentee ballot must include the signature and address of a witness. Some of the federal write-in absentee ballots received by Fairfax County that meet the above criteria are missing the address of the witness and were not going to be counted on Election Day, according to the state law.

The SBE ruling cited a conflicting federal law, which preempts the state law.

“This is a win-win situation for all parties,” said Suleman. “In Fairfax County, we have already received 74,000 absentee ballots, which exceeds the number from any previous year. We look forward to assisting the remaining absentee voters while we continue preparations for what should be a record turnout on Election Day.”


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