Chapter 3. Elections


Published: 2015

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WEST VIRGINIA CODE











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WVC 3-

CHAPTER 3. ELECTIONS.

WVC -1A-

ARTICLE 1A. STATE ELECTION COMMISSION AND SECRETARY OF STATE.







WVC 3 - 1 A- 1

§3-1A-1. Election commission continued; composition; chairperson;

per diem; traveling expense.

The "State Election Commission," heretofore created, is

continued and is composed of the Secretary of State, and four

persons appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and

consent of the Senate. The commission shall from this membership

elect a chairman for a term of two years. Each member of the

commission shall be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary

expenses actually paid the per diem and expense reimbursement

established for the Legislature in section seven, article two-a,

chapter four of this code in the performance of his or her duties

as a member of the commission.







WVC 3-1A-2

§3-1A-2. Qualifications of members of commission.

No member of the commission appointed by the governor shall be

a candidate for or hold any public office other than that of

membership on the commission; nor shall such appointed member be a

member of any committee of a political party. Any person who,

directly or indirectly, (1) designs, owns, manufactures,

distributes or sells any voting machine, or (2) owns any patent

rights or contract rights thereto, or (3) has any interest in any

joint venture, partnership, firm, corporation or association

designing, owning, manufacturing, distributing or selling any

voting machine, or owning any patent rights or contract rights

thereto, shall be disqualified from serving as a member of the

commission. At least one member appointed by the governor shall be

selected with special reference to his expert knowledge as a

student of the problems of public elections. Not more than two

members appointed by the governor shall be members of the same

political party. In case a member appointed by the governor

becomes a candidate for or is appointed to any other public office

or political committee, his office as member of the commission

shall be deemed immediately vacated.







WVC 3-1A-3

§3-1A-3. Terms of office of commission members; filling vacancies.

The terms of office of the members of the commission shall be

six years. Members in office shall continue as members until their

respective terms expire on the fourth day of June, one thousand

nine hundred sixty-nine and one thousand nine hundred seventy-two.

On the expiration of these terms and every three years thereafter

appointments shall be made for six-year terms. Appointments to

fill vacancies shall be for the unexpired term.







WVC 3 - 1 A- 4

§3-1A-4. Office and meetings of commission.

(a) The office and place of meeting of the commission is the

office of the Secretary of State in the State Capitol. The

commission may also conduct meetings via video, telephone or

Internet conferencing.

(b) The commission shall hold such meetings as may be called

by the chairman, the Governor or the Secretary of State.



WVC 3 - 1 A- 5

§3-1A-5. Powers and duties of commission; legislative rules.

     (a) The commission has the power and duty to approve or

disapprove applications for approval of any voting machine as

provided in section seven, article four of this chapter.

     (b) The commission also shall serve as a body advisory to the

Secretary of State, and, as such, shall have the following powers

and duties:

     (1) To recommend policies and practices pertaining to the

registration of voters and the conduct of elections generally;

     (2) To review the work of the office of Secretary of State

pertaining to the duties of that office with respect to elections,

and for this purpose to have access at reasonable times to

pertinent records, books, papers and documents;

     (3) To consider and study the election practices of other

jurisdictions, with a view to determining the techniques used in

eliminating fraud in elections and in simplifying election

procedures;

     (4) To advise or make recommendations to the Governor relative

to election practices and policy in the state;

     (5) To advise the Secretary of State on carrying out the

duties to which he or she is assigned pursuant to the West Virginia

Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing Program,

established in article twelve of this chapter;

     (6) To carry out the duties assigned to the commission by the

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing t Program, established in article twelve of this chapter; and

     (7) To keep minutes of the transactions of each meeting of the

commission, which shall be public records and filed with the

Secretary of State.

     (c) It is the commission's further duty to prepare and

distribute in its name, within available appropriations and upon

the recommendation of the Secretary of State, nonpartisan

educational material to inform voters of the importance of voting,

to encourage voters to vote, to inform voters of election laws and

procedures, and to inform voters of the effect of any public

question, Constitutional amendment or bond issue that is to be

voted upon by all the voters of the state and that has been

authorized to be placed upon the ballot by the Legislature, and

manuals to assist county commissions, ballot commissioners, circuit

and county clerks and other election officials in the proper

performance of their duties in the conduct of elections.

     (d) The commission shall propose for promulgation emergency

and legislative rules, in accordance with article three, chapter

twenty-nine-a of this code, as may be necessary to standardize and

make effective the administration of article eight of this chapter,

and may propose for promulgation other rules, in accordance with

article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, relating to the

conduct and administration of elections as the commission

determines to be advisable.

     (e) Meetings of the commission conducted for the purpose of confirming the eligibility of individual candidates to receive

public campaign financing under the West Virginia Supreme Court of

Appeals Public Campaign Financing Fund are expressly exempted from

the public notice and public meeting requirements of article

nine-a, chapter six of this code.







WVC 3 - 1 A- 6

§3-1A-6. Powers and duties of Secretary of State; exercise of

powers by appointees.

(a) The Secretary of State shall be the chief election

official of the state. Except for those rules required by the

provisions of section five of this article to be promulgated by the

commission, the Secretary of State shall have the authority, after

consultation with the State Election Commission, of which he or she

is a member, to make, amend and rescind such orders and to

promulgate legislative rules, in accordance with the provisions of

chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, as may be necessary to

standardize and make effective the provisions of this chapter. All

election officials, county commissions, clerks of county

commissions, clerks of circuit courts, boards of ballot

commissioners, election commissioners and poll clerks shall abide

by any orders that may be issued and any legislative rules that may

be promulgated by the Secretary of State and the commission.

(b) The Secretary of State also shall have authority to

require collection and report of statistical information and to

require other reports by county commissions, clerks of county

commissions and clerks of circuit courts.

(c) The Secretary of State shall also advise with election

officials; furnish to the election officials a sufficient number of

indexed copies of the current election laws of West Virginia and

the administrative orders and rules issued or promulgated

thereunder; investigate the administration of election laws, frauds and irregularities in any registration or election; report

violations of election laws to the appropriate prosecuting

officials; and prepare an annual report.

(d) The Secretary of State shall also have the power to

administer oaths and affirmations, issue subpoenas for the

attendance of witnesses, issue subpoena duces tecum to compel the

production of books, papers, records, registration records and

other evidence and fix the time and place for hearing any matters

relating to the administration and enforcement of this chapter, or

the rules promulgated by the State Election Commission or by the

Secretary of State as the chief election official of the state. In

case of disobedience to a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum, he or

she may invoke the aid of any circuit court in requiring the

attendance, evidence and testimony of witnesses and the production

of papers, books, records, registration records and other evidence.

(e) (1) The Secretary of State shall also have the power,

after consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Military

Affairs and Public Safety, to implement emergency procedures and

rules to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to

cast a valid ballot and to uphold the integrity of an election in

the event of natural disaster as declared by the Governor of this

state, terrorist attack, war or general emergency, if any of which

occur during or immediately preceding an election.

(2) For purposes of this subsection, a "general emergency"

means circumstances preventing the casting of ballots in one or more voting precincts. The chief judge of the circuit court of the

county where the casting of ballots is being prevented must declare

by order that a general emergency exists."

(f) All powers and duties vested in the Secretary of State

pursuant to this article may be exercised by appointees of the

Secretary of State at his or her discretion, but the Secretary of

State shall be responsible for their acts.







WVC 3-1A-7

§3-1A-7. Candidate's financial disclosure statement.

Candidates for election to any state, county or municipal

office, county school board, district school board, or to the

position of county or district school board superintendent, shall

file a financial disclosure statement with the ethics commission as

may be required under subsection (a), section six, article two,

chapter six-b of this code.







WVC 3 - 1 A- 8

§3-1A-8. Investigators for the Secretary of State.

     (a) An employee of the Secretary of State, who has attended

a course of instruction at the State Police Academy or its

equivalent, has all the lawful powers delegated to members of the

state police to enforce the provisions of this chapter and the

criminal laws of the state in any county or municipality of this

state. The Secretary of State may allow an investigator who has

met the standards set forth in section four, article seven, chapter

sixty-one of this code to carry a firearm and concealed weapon

while performing their official duties: Provided, That as a

precondition of being authorized to carry a firearm or concealed

weapon in the course of their official duties, any such designated

personnel must obtain and maintain firearms training and

certification which is equivalent to that which is required of

members of the state police. The designated persons must also

possess a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon in the manner

prescribed in article seven, chapter sixty-one of this code, or

otherwise be exempted from the code's provisions.

     (b) Before entering upon the discharge of his or her duties,

an employee shall execute a bond with security in the sum of

$3,500, payable to the State of West Virginia, conditioned for the

faithful performance of his or her duties. The bond shall be

approved as to form by the Attorney General and filed with the

Secretary of State and preserved in his or her office. The State

Police and a county sheriff or deputy sheriff or a municipal police officer, upon request by the Secretary of State or his or her

appointee, is authorized to assist the Secretary of State or his or

her appointee in enforcing the provisions of this chapter and the

criminal laws of the state.





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

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