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by Brandon Jarvis

Virginia’s attorney general issued an official opinion Wednesday saying that guns are not allowed within 40 feet of any early voting location. That includes central absentee voter precincts, voter satellite offices, and offices of general registrars that are designated locations for early voting in a locality. 

In his opinion, Attorney General Mark Herring cites the current law for election day polling locations that places a ban on the possession of a firearm within 40 feet of any building, “or part thereof,” used as a polling place. He then writes that this restriction should also apply to absentee and early voting locations the “same way that firearms are prohibited at polling places when the polls are open on Election Day.”

Herring clarified that this opinion does not mean entire buildings, but a 40-foot boundary from the specific voting location. “Further, it is my opinion that the prohibitions do not apply to the entire building that houses a polling place, but rather to the 40-foot boundary around the discrete portion of that building that is used as the polling place,” he wrote in the opinion. 

A new law passed earlier this year placed the 40-foot boundary around polling locations on election day.

“No Virginian should ever feel unsafe when they are voting whether they are voting in person on Election Day or whether they are voting in person early,” Herring said in a press release Wednesday. “Last year, I made it a top priority to ensure safe, secure voting across the Commonwealth, and I intend to do the same during this year’s election cycle.”

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