Citizenship and Voting
Democracy is one citizen, one vote. Participation in elections is the best way of ensuring that our Democracy prevails.
Registering to Vote
Eligibility: Any American citizen whose home is in Virginia and who will be at least 18 years old by the next general election is eligible to register to vote.
Where and How: Virginia citizens can register to vote at any time except the 28 day period before Primary or General Elections. You may register to vote at the Office of the Registrar located on Main Street in Palmyra (Tel: 589 3593). This office is open Monday-Friday 8:30a.m.-4:30p.m. On the last Saturday before registration ends from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. You can register in person or request a registration form be mailed to you by calling the Registrar’s office.
You may also register at the time you register your vehicle at the Department of Motor Vehicles in the E.W. Thomas Store located at the intersection of Rt. 15 & 53, in Palmyra. In Virginia, voters do not register by party affiliation. Registration is free. There is no fee. You do not have to register for each election. Registration qualifies you to vote in all elections in the precinct where you live. If you let 4 years go by without voting, however, your registration lapses and you will be removed from the voting roles.
Voting on Election Day
Where will you vote? You should have received a voter registration card from the Registrar, which will have the name of the precinct and the location of the polling place. It is very important to retain this card and have it with you on Election Day. You must always vote in the precinct in which you registered. If you move, you must notify the Registrar who will then issue you a new registration ID card. Fluvanna has five voting districts: Palmyra, Columbia, Fork Union, Cunningham and Rivanna. Polling places are open on Election Day from 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. If you are in line at the time the polls are scheduled to close, you may still vote.
Recent changes to election law require voters to present photo Identification when voting. Acceptable forms are a Valid Virginia Driver’s License , DMV-issued photo ID card, Valid United States Passport, Valid Employee photo ID card, Other government issued photo ID, Valid college or university student photo ID from a Virginia institution of higher education.
Any registered voter who expects to be out of Fluvanna County on Election Day, or cannot get to the polls due to physical illness or disability, may vote by absentee ballot. You may request an absentee ballot by phone or in person from the Registrar’s office. If applying by mail, your application must be received by the Thursday before the election. You may also cast your absentee vote in person at the Registrar’s office up until 5:00 p.m. on the Saturday before the election.
The Federal Government
President of the United States
The President of the United States is elected by an Electoral College and not by direct ballot. When you cast your vote for the President and Vice President each November of leap year, you are in reality voting for a slate of electors to represent Virginia in casting its 13 electoral votes for our highest office. By tradition, the electors of each state vote for the presidential candidate receiving a plurality of votes in that state. The President is elected for a 4 year term which commences January 20 of the year following the election. Under the U.S. Constitution, the President cannot serve more than two consecutive terms. The President, his staff and the various cabinet departments constitute the executive branch of the government.
The United States Congress
The Congress is bicameral – a legislative body consisting of two houses – the US Senate and the US House of Representatives. The Senate and House, along with the Library of Congress and other agencies, constitute the legislative branch of our Federal Government. Both bodies were established by the Constitution of the United States, and although their size and composition have changed over the years, the House and Senate still reflect the powers and structure enumerated in the Constitution.
The United States Senate
Each state elects two senators to the US Senate, regardless of that state’s population. There are therefore 100 senators – two for each of the 50 states. Senators are elected by direct ballot by the voters in their states for a six year term, the longest period of elected office in the Federal Government. There is no limit on the number of terms they may serve. Senators are elected on a staggered basis so that approximately one-third of the Senate is elected every two years. Senators must have reached the age of 30 by the time they are sworn in and must be both citizens of the United States and the state from which elected. The Senate has several powers specifically delineated by the Constitution. It has the power to ratify treaties, to give advice and consent to certain executive branch appointees, including cabinet members, ambassadors, and officers in the armed forces, as well as appointments to the federal judiciary. It also is empowered to sit as a court of impeachment should the House of Representatives present it with an article of impeachment.
U.S. House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is elected every two years in even numbered years by direct ballot. There are 435 members of the House. They serve two year terms. The 435 seats are reapportioned every 10 years after the census, with every state assured of having at least one member. There are now seven states with only one representative. California, our most populous state, on the other hand, has 53 members. Virginia, the 12th largest state in population, elects 11 members to the House.
The House is the principal body charged with initiating legislation to raise revenue and to appropriate federal funds. The House also has several powers reserved to it by the Constitution. It may bring impeachment charges against certain federal officials in the judicial and executive branches.
Fluvanna County is currently in the Fifth Congressional District, which at more than 10,000 square miles is one of the geographically largest congressional districts east of the Mississippi.
The Commonwealth of Virginia
The Governor is the chief executive officer in Virginia and is elected for a 4 year term. The Governor must be a citizen of the United States and a resident and registered voter in Virginia for the 5 years immediately preceding the election. The Governor must be 30 years of age or older and reside in Richmond during service as Governor. The Virginia Governor is limited to one term in office – the only state to have such a limit.
The Lieutenant Governor is elected at the same time and for the same term as the Governor. There are no term limits for the Lieutenant Governor. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor, unlike some states, run independently and can be from different political parties. The Lieutenant Governor presides as President of the Senate and succeeds to the Office of Governor should that position become vacant. The Lieutenant Governor can only vote in the Senate to break a tie vote.
The Attorney General is elected to represent the state or any of its agencies in civil or criminal cases before the courts and serves as the chief executive of the Department of Law. His/her 4 year term runs concurrently with that of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor and there is no restriction on successive terms.
The Virginia General Assembly
The Virginia General Assembly is composed of the Senate and the House of Delegates, which collectively has power to levy taxes, enact laws, confirm the Governor’s appointments, approve the budget and select State Supreme Court Justices, Court of Appeals, Circuit and District Court judges. The Assembly also has the important task of redistricting the state after each 10 year census.
There are at present 40 members of the Senate. Senators are elected by district for 4 year terms in the odd-numbered years when there is no gubernatorial election. Senators must be residents and registered voters in the district they represent. Fluvanna County is located in the 22nd Senatorial District.
House of Delegates
There are at present 100 members of the House of Delegates. Delegates are elected by districts for two-year terms with elections every odd-numbered year. Delegates must be residents and registered voters in the district they represent. Fluvanna County is currently divided into two House districts. The 58th District includes the Palmyra, Cunningham and Rivanna election districts. The 65th District includes the Columbia and Fork Union districts.
Fluvanna County Government
At present, Fluvanna County has 5 election districts. Each has one polling place. Each election district elects one supervisor to the Board of Supervisors and one School Board member. The Office of the Registrar can provide you information about your precinct and polling place.
Board of Supervisors
Each precinct in Fluvanna County is represented by one supervisor. Supervisors must be registered voters and residents of the precinct from which they are elected. Voters elect their supervisors on a staggered election schedule in odd-numbered years for 4 year terms. The Board of Supervisors is the chief legislative body of Fluvanna County responsible for the county’s budget, revenue, appropriations and general governance of the county in accordance with powers given it by the General Assembly. The election districts are subject to reapportionment every 10 years based on the census.
The public school system in Fluvanna County is governed and supervised by the elected School Board. There are at present 5 School Board members elected under the same system and schedule as the Board of Supervisors for 4 year terms..
Clerk of the Circuit Court The Clerk is elected by the qualified voters of Fluvanna County for an 8-year term and serves as the chief administrative office of the court.
County Treasurer The Treasurer is elected by the voters of the county for a 4 year term in odd years in which there is no gubernatorial election. The Treasurer is responsible for the collection, custody and disbursement of county funds.
Commissioner of the Revenue The Commissioner is elected by the voters for a 4 year term and is charged with the preparation of the real estate and personal property tax books and tax bills.
Sheriff The Sheriff is elected for a 4 year term in the same cycle as the other constitutional officers. The Sheriff is responsible for the protection of the lives and property of county residents and issues warrants and summonses.
Commonwealth’s Attorney The Commonwealth’s Attorney is elected for a 4 year term in the same cycle as the others. He/she is responsible for the prosecution of criminal offenses and represents the county and state in civil cases.