Guidelines for the Media During Elections

The Arlington County Electoral Board welcomes media representatives in and around our polling places on Election Day, as long as your presence is not disruptive to the smooth operation of the election, and voters and election workers do not feel uncomfortable with your presence or feel that their privacy has been violated. The following Guidelines are intended to assist you in complying with appropriate procedures and laws on Election Day. 

Covering Activity at the Polls

  • Upon entering the voting area, contact the Chief Election Officer. The Electoral Board assigns supervisory authority in the polling place, and he or she is the person who can authorize your presence. Be prepared to show media credentials or identification.
  • Although you may take photos or film in the polling place during voting hours, you must first confer with the Chief Officer regarding camera placement, lighting, etc.
  • Do not speak with any voter in the voting area.
  • Do not impede the voting process or the work of the polling place staff.
  • Do not in any way compromise or endanger the secrecy of a voter’s ballot, such as taking a photo in such a way that it is clear how a voter marked the ballot.
  • Electioneering or obstruction of any kind within a 40-foot radius of the polling place entrance is strictly prohibited by Virginia law. Within this 40-foot prohibited area, you cannot:
    • Wear any campaign buttons, stickers, or regalia
    • Hand out campaign literature
    • Urge the election or defeat of any candidate or issue on the ballot
  • Your presence in the polling place is authorized for media coverage only. Please leave promptly after completing your work.

Exit Polling

  • Question only those people leaving the polling place.
  • Be sure to advise people that responding to questions is voluntary. If someone refuses to answer or seems uncomfortable or annoyed, do not press him further.
  • Do not interfere in any way with access to the polling place.
  • Do not position yourself with 40 feet of the entrance to the polling place.

>>View the full list of polling places in Arlington, Virginia.

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