WEST VIRGINIA CODE
CHAPTER 3. ELECTIONS.
ARTICLE 1B. FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES.
§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
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.
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
(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
(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
§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
(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.
§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.
§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
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
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:
Supreme Court of Appeals150,000150,000
House of Delegates25,00025,000
Expenditures which do not exceed the limits designated for the
primary election may not be added to the limits for the general
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.
Candidate for/Committee Name Address and City
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.
§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.
§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.
§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
§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.