Media Guidelines

If you’re a media representative, you can visit any Arlington polling place on Election Day 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.