Before proceeding to ascertain the vote, the officers of election shall determine whether no more than two representatives of each political party having candidates in the election and one representative of each independent candidate or primary candidate request to be present while the absentee ballots are cast, votes are counted, and returns are completed.Each representative shall be a qualified voter of any jurisdiction in the Commonwealth and shall present to the officers of election a written statement certifying that he is an authorized representative, signed by his party chairman for the jurisdiction in which the election is held, the independent candidate, or the candidate in a primary, as appropriate. If the party chairman for the jurisdiction in which the election is held is unavailable to sign such a written designation, such a designation may be made by the state or district chairman of the political party. However, no written designation made by a state or district chairman shall take precedence over a written designation made by the party chairman for the jurisdiction in which the election is held. Such representatives shall be entitled to be present while the votes are counted and shall remain until the returns are completed.In case such representatives, or any of them, do not request to be present, the officers shall notify the bystanders, if any, and select one or more to be present with any available representatives of the parties or candidates so that there are as many as four bystanders and representatives present.The representatives and bystanders lawfully present shall have an unobstructed view of the officers of election and their actions while the absentee ballots are cast, votes are counted, and returns are completed. The representatives and bystanders lawfully present are prohibited from interfering with the officers of election in any way.
Code 1950, §§ 24-260, 24-261; 1970, c. 462, § 24.1-137; 1974, c. 428; 1993, c. 641; 2006, c. 177; 2010, c. 448; 2015, c. 133.