Media Guidelines


Covering Polling Place Activity

  • Media representatives are permitted inside the polling place only when the polls are open (6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.).
  • A 40-foot Prohibited Area surrounds the entrances to all polling places. Virginia law restricts various activities inside the Prohibited Area and polling place, including media activities. Election officials will clearly demarcate this Prohibited Area.
  • Media representatives should contact the Chief Officer of Election upon entering the voting area. This person can authorize media representatives’ presence.
  • Media representatives should be prepared to display media credentials or identification if requested by an officer of election.
  • Discuss placement of cameras for photos and/or filming with the Chief Officer, as equipment should be placed so as not to show the faces of those attempting to vote or hinder the flow of voting.
  • The length of any visit is restricted to a reasonable and limited period of time, and all representatives should leave immediately after completion of filming.
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

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