Media Alert: Media Guidelines for Primary Day, March 1

Published on February 25, 2016

Reporters: You can visit any Arlington polling place on the upcoming Virginia Primary Day, Tuesday, March 1 (and Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8), as long as:


  • Your presence doesn't disrupt the election operation

  • Voters and election workers don't feel uncomfortable with your presence or feel that you've violated their privacy


Covering Polling Place Activity


Follow these guidelines to comply with the appropriate procedures and laws on Election Day:


    • Upon entering the voting area, contact the chief election officer, who has supervisory authority in the polling place and can authorize your presence. Be prepared to show your media credentials or identification.

    • Before you take photos or video in the polling place during voting hours, confer with the chief election officer regarding camera placement, lighting, etc.

    • Don't speak with any voter in the voting area.

    • Don't impede the voting process or the work of the polling place staff.

    • Don't compromise or endanger the secrecy of a voter's ballot (e.g., taking a photo that clearly reveals how a voter marked the ballot).

    • Note that Virginia Law strictly prohibits electioneering or obstruction of any kind within a 40-foot radius of the polling place entrance, including:

      • Wearing any campaign buttons, stickers or regalia

      • Handing out campaign literature

      • Urging any candidate or issue election or defeat on the ballot

      • Since your presence at a polling place is for media coverage only, leave promptly after completing your work



    • When conducting an exit poll:

      • Question only those people leaving the polling place

      • Advise people that answering questions is voluntary — don't press anyone who refuses to answer or seems uncomfortable or annoyed

      • Don't interfere in any way with polling place access

      • Don't position yourself within 40 feet of the polling place entrance



    • For more media information, visit the Virginia Department of Election's Media Newsroom.