Chapter 3. Elections


Published: 2015

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WEST VIRGINIA CODE











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WVC 3-

CHAPTER 3. ELECTIONS.

WVC 3-1B-

ARTICLE 1B. FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES.







WVC 3-1B-1

§3-1B-1. Legislative findings, purpose, declaration and intent.

The Legislature hereby finds and declares that every candidate

for public office in this state should follow the basic principles

of decency, honesty and fairness in the course of their campaign

practices.

The Legislature hereby further declares that the code of fair

campaign practices, as contained in this article, is a standard to

which all candidates for public office should aspire and is a

guideline for voters to determine fair play in the conduct of

campaigns for public office.

It is the further goal of the Legislature that every candidate

for public office in this state will voluntarily subscribe and

adhere to the code of campaign practices.







WVC 3-1B-2

§3-1B-2. Definitions.

For purposes of this article:

(a) "Campaign advertising or communication" means a

communication authorized by a candidate or a candidate's committee

for the purpose of advocating the nomination, election or defeat of

a candidate;

(b) "Candidate for public office" means an individual who has

filed a pre-candidacy statement pursuant to the provisions of

section five-e, article eight of this chapter, has qualified to

have his or her name listed on the ballot of any election, or who

has declared his or her intention to seek nomination or election

through a petition or write-in procedure for any state, regional,

county, municipal or district office which is to be filled at an

election;

(c) "Code" means the code of fair campaign practices as set

forth in this article;

(d) "Commission" means the state election commission created

pursuant to the provisions of article one-a of this chapter; and

(e) "Political committee" means all of those persons and

entities required to keep accounts and file financial statements

pursuant to the provisions of section five, article eight of this

chapter.







WVC 3-1B-3

§3-1B-3. Powers and duties of the commission.

In addition to the powers and duties of the commission as

prescribed in section five, article one-a of this chapter, the

commission has:

(a) The power to issue advisory opinions on whether an action

or proposed action of a subscribing candidate violates the code of

fair campaign practices;

(b) The duty to prepare and distribute copies of the code of

fair campaign practices to voters, circuit clerks, county clerks

and other election officials;

(c) The duty to receive, investigate and act on complaints or

other information concerning noncompliance with the code by

candidates for public office who subscribe to the code; and

(d) The duty to make public the name and identity of

candidates subscribing to the code and the findings of compliance

or noncompliance with the code upon the conclusion of a hearing

conducted pursuant to section four of this article.







WVC 3-1B-4

§3-1B-4. Hearing; disposition; sanctions.

If a majority of the commission determines that there is a

reasonable likelihood that a candidate for public office who

subscribes to the code of fair campaign practices has violated a

provision of the code, then the commission shall inform the

candidate in writing and notify the candidate in writing that the

candidate has ten days from receipt of the notice to request a

hearing. If the candidate requests a hearing, then one shall be

scheduled within ten days after such request. Said hearing may be

continued only for good cause shown. If a majority of the

commission determines, based upon clear and convincing evidence,

after a hearing or after a candidate has declined to request a

hearing, that such candidate has violated a provision of the code,

the commission may issue a public opinion stating the candidate has

committed a violation of the code. If the commission does not find

by clear and convincing evidence that a subscribing candidate has

violated a provision of the code, then the commission shall issue

a public statement that the candidate has not violated the code.

Said statement shall be issued on the same day of the hearing.







WVC 3-1B-5

§3-1B-5. Code of fair campaign practices.

At the time an individual files his or her pre-candidacy

statement, certificate of announcement, nominating petition, and

other paper evidencing an intention to be a candidate for public

office, or when an individual files the statement of organization

of a political committee, the circuit clerk, county clerk or

secretary of state receiving such filing shall furnish the

individual with a form containing the text of the code of fair

campaign practices which shall read as follows:

CODE OF FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES

I SHALL CONDUCT this campaign openly and publicly, discussing

the issues as I see them, presenting positions and policies with

sincerity and frankness, and criticizing without fear or favor the

record and policies of candidates or political parties which merit

such criticism.

I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT the use of character defamation,

whispering campaigns, libel, slander or scurrilous attacks on any

candidate or his or her personal family life.

I SHALL CONDEMN the use of campaign advertising or

communication of any sort which misrepresents, distorts, or

otherwise falsifies the facts regarding any candidate or issue

raised in my campaign.

I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT any appeal to negative prejudice

based on race, sex, religion, national origin, physical disability

or age.

I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT any dishonest or unethical practice

which tends to corrupt or undermine our system of free elections, or which hampers or prevents the full and free expression of the

will of the voters including acts intended to hinder, prevent, or

discourage any eligible person from registering to vote, or from

voting, or which is intended to affect voting through the buying of

influence or votes.

I SHALL NOT COERCE election help or campaign contributions for

myself or my committee or for any other candidate or any ballot

issue from my employees or from any person under my authority,

influence or control.

I SHALL IMMEDIATELY AND PUBLICLY REPUDIATE support on behalf

of or in opposition to any candidacy deriving from any individual

or group which resorts to the methods and tactics which I condemn.

I shall accept responsibility to take firm action against any

subordinate or associate who violates any provisions of this code

or the laws governing elections.

I PERSONALLY SUPPORT a limit on campaign expenditures that

when reasonable, sufficient and fairly applied, does not limit or

restrict the expression of ideas of the candidate or others on

behalf of the candidate, but instead challenges individuals to

engage in open dialogue on the issues rather than merely to

purchase the excessive repetition of images and slogans.

ACCORDINGLY, IF I AM A CANDIDATE for one of the offices listed

below, I will, in conjunction with the committee or committees

organized on my behalf, adhere to the following limitations on

campaign spending specified for the office I seek:

PRIMARY GENERAL

Governor1,000,0001,000,000

Constitutional Officers150,000150,000

Supreme Court of Appeals150,000150,000

State Senate50,00050,000

House of Delegates25,00025,000

Circuit Judge50,00050,000

Expenditures which do not exceed the limits designated for the

primary election may not be added to the limits for the general

election.

I SHALL DEFEND AND UPHOLD the right of every qualified voter

to full and equal participation in the electoral process.

I, the undersigned, a candidate for election to public office

in the State of West Virginia, or the chairperson of a political

committee supporting one or more candidates for election, hereby

voluntarily endorse, subscribe to, and solemnly pledge myself to

conduct this campaign in accordance with the above principles and

practices. I understand that subscription and adherence to the

code is voluntary.

_______________________________ ____________________________

DateSignature



______________________________ ____________________________

Candidate for/Committee Name Address and City







WVC 3-1B-6



§3-1B-6. Forms.

The secretary of state in consultation with the election

commission, shall prescribe the forms containing the text of the

code and shall furnish the forms to the circuit clerks, county

clerks and municipal clerks or recorders in quantities and at times

requested by the clerks.







WVC 3-1B-7

§3-1B-7. Retention of forms; public inspection.

The officer receiving the filing shall accept, at all times

prior to the election, all completed forms evidencing subscription

to the code.

Forms filed with the circuit clerk shall be immediately

forwarded to the county clerk. The county clerk, secretary of

state, and municipal recorder or clerk shall retain such forms

filed with them for public inspection until one hundred eighty days

after the general election.







WVC 3-1B-8

§3-1B-8. Voluntary subscription to the code.

Subscription to and adherence to the provisions of the code

set forth in this article is voluntary and in no event may any

person be required to subscribe to, adhere to or endorse the code.







WVC 3-1B-9

§3-1B-9. Release from subscription to the code.

In the event that an opponent to a subscribing candidate

exceeds the voluntary campaign spending limitations set forth in

section five of this article, the subscribing candidate who has not

exceeded the spending limitations shall be automatically released

from that portion of the code establishing the campaign spending

limitations, and the commission shall make public the fact of such

release.







WVC 3-1B-10

§3-1B-10. Adjustment of spending limitations.

The commission may from time to time increase the voluntary

campaign spending limitations established in this article pursuant

to legislative rule promulgated pursuant to the provisions of

chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.





Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session

The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.