Chapter 3. Elections


Published: 2015

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WEST VIRGINIA CODE











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WVC 3-

CHAPTER 3. ELECTIONS.

WVC -9-

ARTICLE 9. OFFENSES AND PENALTIES.







WVC 3 - 9 - 1

§3-9-1. False or fraudulent returns; tampering with, destroying or

misdelivering ballots, records, etc.; forgeries;

aiding, etc., in offense; penalties.

Every person named and identified in this section, who shall

violate any of the provisions of the election laws as herein

specified, shall be deemed guilty of a felony and, upon conviction

thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in a state correctional

facility for not less than one nor more than ten years:

(a) Any commissioner of election or poll clerk who shall

knowingly make or cause to be made, or conspire with others to

make, a false return of the result of the votes cast for any

candidate at any precinct in an election held pursuant to law; or

(b) Any commissioner of election receiving the ballot of a

voter to be deposited in the ballot box at any election precinct,

who shall put another ballot in the box instead of the one received

by him; or

(c) Any commissioner of election or poll clerk, who knowingly

shall count and string a ballot not taken from the ballot box, in

lieu of one taken, or which should have been taken from such ballot

box; or

(d) Any commissioner of a county court, whether acting as such

or ex officio as a member of a board of canvassers or otherwise,

clerk of a county court, or other person, who shall, except as

authorized by law, abstract any ballot from any package of ballots

voted, sealed or returned from any election precinct, either before or after they are filed with the clerk of the county court, or who

shall in any manner change any such ballot from what it was when

voted by the voter, or who shall put another ballot in such package

in the place of the one so abstracted therefrom; or

(e) Any commissioner of a county court, whether acting as such

commissioner or ex officio as a member of a board of canvassers, or

otherwise, who shall knowingly make and enter of record, or in any

way aid, counsel, or advise the same to be done, or permit the same

to be done without objection on his part, any false or fraudulent

statement of the result of any election held within the county; or

(f) Any person who shall falsely make, or fraudulently deface,

or fraudulently destroy, any certificate of nomination, or any part

thereof, or file any certificate of nomination, knowing the same,

or any part thereof, to be falsely made, or suppress any

certificate of nomination which has been duly filed, or any part

thereof; or erase, deface, or change in any manner, any election

record, or any ballot, poll book, tally sheet or certificate of

election, deposited with either of the clerks of the county or

circuit courts; or conspire with another to do any of said acts; or

induce or attempt to induce any other persons to do any of said

acts; or

(g) Any person who shall aid, assist, counsel or advise in the

commission of any of the offenses above specified, whether or not

said acts, or any of them be committed or attempted to be

committed; or

(h) Any person, who, without the assent of another, shall sign

the name of such other person to any certificate, affidavit,

ballot, report, statement or writing, required under any provision

of this chapter, with intent to mislead and deceive; or who shall

use or employ any certificate, affidavit, ballot, report, statement

or writing to which the name of a person has been signed without

the authority of such person, knowing that such name has been so

signed with intent to mislead or deceive; or

(i) Any clerk of a court, poll clerk, member of the board of

ballot commissioners, commissioner of election, or messenger

intrusted with the custody of the ballots, who shall open

unlawfully any of the packages in which the ballots are contained,

or permit any of them to be opened, or destroy any of such ballots,

or permit them to be destroyed, or give, or deliver any such

packages or ballots to any person not lawfully entitled to receive

them, as in this chapter provided, or conspire to procure, or in

any way aid, abet, or connive at any robbery, loss or unlawful

destruction of any such ballots or packages; or

(j) Any person not duly authorized by law who shall, during

the progress of any election in this state, or after the closing of

the polls and before the ballots are counted and the results

ascertained, or within twelve months thereafter, open without

breaking, or break open or violate, the seals or locks of any

ballot box, paper, envelope or bag, in which ballots have been

deposited at or after such election, or who shall obtain possession of such ballot box, paper, envelope or bag containing such ballots,

and cancel, withhold, or destroy such ballots, or who shall

fraudulently or forcibly add to or diminish the number of ballots

legally deposited therein, or who shall fraudulently make any

erasure or alteration of any kind, upon any tally sheet, poll book,

list of voters, or election returns, deposited therein; or

(k) Any person who knowingly, willfully and without

authorization from the Secretary of State, a county clerk or

municipal clerk directly or indirectly, tampers with, deletes,

alters, damages or destroys or attempts to tamper with, delete,

alter, damage or destroy any computer or computer network that

contains voter registration files, records or data or who knowingly

introduces, directly or indirectly, a computer contaminant into any

computer, computer program or computer network that contains voter

registration files, records or data; or

(l) Any person who knowingly, directly or indirectly,

accesses, attempts to access, or causes to be accessed any voter

registration files, records or data stored on or in a computer

owned by the Secretary of State, a county commission or

municipality, without authorization; or

(m) Any person employed by the Secretary of State, a county

commission or a municipality who knowingly, directly or indirectly

accesses, attempts to access or causes to be accessed any voter

registration files, records or data stored on or in a computer in

an unauthorized manner, in excess of his or her authorization or for unauthorized use or purpose.







WVC 3-9-2

§3-9-2. Unlawful printing, possession or delivery of ballots;

penalties.

No one, except the person employed and authorized by the

ballot commissioners to do so, shall print any ballot for any

election. No person engaged or employed in printing such ballots

shall deliver any ballot to any person except a member of the board

of ballot commissioners, or knowingly permit any other person to

obtain possession of any ballot; or print, or cause to be printed,

any ballot in any other form, or with the names of any other

persons thereon, or with the names thereon spelled or arranged in

any other manner than that prescribed by the ballot commissioners.

No person shall print, have in his possession, or deliver, any

imitation ballot having a similitude or likeness to the official

ballot, and which would be calculated to deceive: Provided,

however, That nothing herein contained shall prohibit any person

from printing or having in his possession a sample ballot printed

on paper of a color different from the official ballot, and not

calculated to deceive. Any person violating any provision of this

section shall be guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof,

shall be punished by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not

less than one nor more than ten years.

Any person who shall unlawfully take or remove, with or

without the consent of the lawful custodian thereof, any ballot

from the place at which such ballots are lawfully kept for the time

being; or unlawfully remove or attempt to remove any ballot from the election room; or have in his possession outside of the

election room during the election any ballot, shall be guilty of a

felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in the

penitentiary not less than one nor more than five years, or, in the

discretion of the court, be confined in jail for not more than one

year.







WVC 3-9-3

§3-9-3. False swearing; penalties.

(a) If any election official, or other person, making any

affidavit required under any provision of this chapter, shall

therein knowingly swear falsely, or if any person shall counsel,

advise, aid or abet another in the commission of false swearing, he

shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction therefor shall

be fined not less than fifty nor more than one thousand dollars and

imprisoned in the county jail for a period of not more than one

year.

(b) If any person making any declaration required under any

provision of this chapter shall knowingly make a false statement or

representation therein, or if any person shall counsel, advise, aid

or abet another to make such a declaration containing any false

statement or representation, any such person shall be deemed to be

guilty of false swearing although no oath was administered, and

such offense is hereby declared to be a misdemeanor. Upon

conviction of such offense, any such person shall be fined not less

than fifty nor more than one thousand dollars and imprisoned in the

county jail for a period of not more than one year.







WVC 3-9-4

§3-9-4. Commissioner's failure to procure or return supplies;

penalties.

Any commissioner of election designated to call for and

deliver election supplies as provided in article one of this

chapter who shall wilfully or negligently fail to appear at the

offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts of his

county and procure and deliver such supplies, or who shall wilfully

or negligently fail or refuse to return such supplies, as provided

in articles five and six of this chapter, shall be guilty of a

misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined not less

than ten nor more than one hundred dollars.







WVC 3-9-5

§3-9-5. Destruction or removal of election supplies and equipment;

attempts; penalties.

If any person shall, during the election, remove or destroy

any of the supplies or other conveniences placed in the booths or

compartments as aforesaid, or delivered to the voter for the

purpose of enabling the voter to prepare his ballot or shall,

during an election, remove, tear down or deface, the cards printed

for the instruction of the voters, or shall, during an election,

destroy or remove any booths or other convenience provided for such

election, or shall induce or attempt to induce any person to commit

any of such acts, whether or not any of such acts be committed, or

attempted to be committed, then such person shall be guilty of a

misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined not more

than one thousand dollars or confined in the county jail for not

more than one year, or both, in the discretion of the court.







WVC 3-9-6

§3-9-6. Unauthorized presence in election room; three hundred

foot limit; penalties.

If any person, not herein authorized so to do, enters or

attempts to enter the election room, except upon a lawful errand

and for a proper purpose, or remains within three hundred feet of

the outside entrance to the building housing the polling place,

contrary to the provisions of this chapter, he shall be guilty of

a misdemeanor and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined not less

than fifty dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or confined

in the county jail for not more than thirty days.

Excepting those individuals provided for expressly in this or

other sections of the code, only full-time employees of the

Secretary of State's office or full-time employees of the

respective county offices of the county clerk or the county

prosecutor may enter or otherwise disturb the polling place.







WVC 3-9-7

§3-9-7. Wrongful refusal or allowance of votes; malicious or

frivolous challenges; penalties.

Any election officer who refuses the vote of a duly registered

and qualified voter, whom he knows is entitled to vote or who

accepts the vote of a person whom he knows to be not lawfully

registered, without challenging such persons, shall be guilty of a

misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, fined not more than one thousand

dollars or confined in the county jail for not more than one year,

or both, at the discretion of the court.

Any person who shall maliciously or frivolously, and without

probable cause, challenge the right of any person to vote, shall be

guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, be fined not more

than one hundred dollars or confined in the county jail for not

more than ninety days, or both, in the discretion of the court.







WVC 3-9-8

§3-9-8. Distinguishing marks on ballots; conspiracies; penalties.

If any person shall induce, or attempt to induce, any voter to

write, paste or otherwise place on his ballot the name of any

person, or any sign or device of any kind, as a distinguishing mark

by which to indicate to any other person how such voter voted, or

shall enter into or attempt to form any agreement or conspiracy

with any other person to induce or attempt to induce a voter to so

place a distinguishing name or mark on his ballot, whether or not

such act be committed or attempted to be committed, such person so

offending shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction

thereof, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or be

imprisoned in the county jail for not more than one year, or both,

in the discretion of the court.







WVC 3-9-9

§3-9-9. Other unlawful acts at polling places; penalties.

No officer of election may disclose to any person the name of

any candidate for whom a voter has voted. No officer of election

may do any electioneering on election day. No person may do any

electioneering on election day within any polling place, or within

three hundred feet of the outside entrance to the building housing

the polling place. No person may apply for or receive any ballot

in any polling place, other than that in which he is entitled to

vote, nor may any person examine a ballot which any voter has

prepared for voting, or solicit the voter to show the same, nor

ask, nor make any arrangement, directly or indirectly, with any

voter, to vote an open ballot. No person, except a commissioner of

election, may receive from any voter a ballot prepared by him for

voting. No voter may receive a ballot from any person other than

one of the poll clerks; nor may any person other than a poll clerk

deliver a ballot to a commissioner of election to be voted by such

commissioner. No voter may deliver any ballot to a commissioner of

election to be voted, except the one he receives from the poll

clerk. No voter may place any mark upon his ballot, or suffer or

permit any other person to do so, by which it may be afterward

identified as the ballot voted by him. Whoever violates any

provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on

conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one hundred

dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or confined in jail for

not more than one year, or both fined and confined.







WVC 3-9-10

§3-9-10. Disorder at polls; prevention; failure to assist in

preventing disorder; penalties.

Any person who shall, by force, menace, fraud or intimidation,

prevent or attempt to prevent any officer whose duty it is by law

to assist in holding an election, or in counting the votes cast

thereat, and certifying and returning the result thereof, from

discharging his duties according to law; or who shall, by violence,

threatening gestures, speeches, force, menace or intimidation,

prevent or attempt to prevent an election being held; or who shall

in any manner obstruct or attempt to obstruct the holding of an

election, or who shall, by any manner of force, fraud, menace or

intimidation, prevent or attempt to prevent any voter from

attending any election, or from freely exercising his right of

suffrage at any election at which he is entitled to vote, shall be

guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, fined not more than

one thousand dollars, or confined in the county jail for not more

than one year, or both, in the discretion of the court.

Any person who, being thereto commanded by the commissioners

of election, or either of them, shall fail or refuse to assist to

the utmost of his power, in whatever may be necessary or proper to

prevent intimidation, disorder or violence at the polls, shall be

guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be

fined not less than ten nor more than one hundred dollars.







WVC 3-9-11

§3-9-11. Failure to make returns; penalties.

Any election officer who shall wilfully fail, neglect or

refuse to prepare and return certificates of the result of the

election in the manner provided, within twelve hours after the

completion of the count, tabulation and declaration of the results,

shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, fined not

more than one thousand dollars, or confined in the county jail for

not more than one year, or both, in the discretion of the court.







WVC 3-9-12

§3-9-12. Improper influence and bribery by candidates; penalties.

Whoever, being a candidate for any office, loans or gives,

directly or indirectly, or offers or promises to loan, or give, any

money, or other thing of value, to any elector, for the purpose of

influencing or retaining the vote of such elector, or inducing such

elector to work or labor for the election of such candidate, or to

refrain from working or laboring for the election of any other

candidate; or to any person to secure or to retain the influence or

vote of such elector, in his behalf as such candidate, or to be

used by such person in any way to influence the vote of any

elector, or of electors generally, for himself or any candidate or

ticket, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction

thereof, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or

confined in the county jail for not more than one year, or both, in

the discretion of the court.







WVC 3-9-13

§3-9-13. Buying or selling vote unlawful; penalties.

(a) It is unlawful for any person to offer or to pay money or

any other thing of value to any person as consideration for the

vote of the offeree or payee, as the case may be, to be cast for or

against any candidate or issue in any election held in the state.

Any person who violates the provisions of this subsection shall be

guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined

not less than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for a period of

not less than one year, nor more than five years, or both.

(b) It is likewise unlawful for any person to accept or agree

to accept money or other thing of value as consideration for the

vote of the acceptee, to be cast for or against any candidate or

issue in any election held in the state. Any person who violates

the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor,

and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one

hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned in

the county jail not more than one year, or both.







WVC 3 - 9 - 14

§3-9-14.

Repealed.

Acts, 2010 Reg. Sess., Ch. 76.







WVC 3-9-15

§3-9-15. Unlawful acts by employers; penalties.

Any employer or agent of any employer or corporation, who

prints or authorizes to be printed upon any pay envelope or who

distributes directly or indirectly, or gives directly to any

employee any statement intended or calculated to influence the

political action of his employees for any candidate for public

office, or posts or exhibits in the establishment, any posters,

placards, or handbills, or delivers verbally any message to any

such employees, containing any threat, notice or information that

if any such candidate is elected or defeated, work in the

establishment will cease, in whole or in part, or other threats

expressed or implied, intended to influence the political opinions

or votes of his employees, shall be guilty of corrupt practices,

and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than one thousand

dollars nor more than twenty thousand dollars or be imprisoned in

jail not more than one year, or both.







WVC 3-9-16

§3-9-16. Receiving or soliciting bribes by voters; penalties.

Any voter who shall, before or during any election, directly

or indirectly, by himself, or by any other person on his behalf,

solicit, demand, receive, agree or contract for any money, gift,

loan, or valuable consideration, office, place of employment, or

solicit any endorsement on a note or other paper, public or

private, for himself or for any other person, for voting or

agreeing to vote, or for voting for any person or candidate or

object, or agreeing so to vote, or from refraining or agreeing to

refrain from voting at any election; or any person who shall, after

any election, directly or indirectly, by himself, or by any other

person on his behalf, solicit, demand or receive any money or

valuable consideration on account of any person having voted or

refrained from voting, or having induced any other person to vote

or refrain from voting at any election, shall be guilty of a

misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined not more

than one thousand dollars, or confined in jail for not more than

one year, or both, in the discretion of the court.







WVC 3-9-17

§3-9-17. Illegal voting; deceiving voters; penalties.

If any person knowingly votes when not legally entitled; or

votes more than once in the same election; or knowingly votes or

attempts to vote more than one ballot for the same office, or on

the same question; or procures or assists in procuring an illegal

vote to be admitted, or received, at an election, knowing the same

to be illegal; or a legal vote to be rejected, knowing the same to

be legal; or, with intent to deceive, alters the ballot of a voter

by marking out the name of any person for whom such voter desires

to vote; or, with like intent, writes the name of any person on

such ballot other than those directed by the voter; or with like

intent, makes any alteration thereof, whether such ballot be voted

or not; or defrauds any voter at any election, by deceiving and

causing him to vote for a different person for any office than he

intended or desired to vote for, he shall be guilty of a

misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall for each offense be

fined not more than one thousand dollars or confined in the county

jail for not more than one year, or both, in the discretion of the

court.







WVC 3 - 9 - 18

§3-9-18. Unlawful voting in primary elections; penalties.

Any person voting, in any primary election, any ticket of a

party other than that of which he is registered as a member, and

any election officer receiving the vote of any such person,

knowing, or having reason to believe, that such voter is not a

member of the party the ticket of which he is voting, shall, at the

primary election to be held to nominate candidates for the same

office, vote at such primary election; shall in each instance be

guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined

not more than one thousand dollars, or be confined in the county

jail for not more than one year, or both, in the discretion of the

court.







WVC 3 - 9 - 19

§3-9-19. Violations concerning absent voters' ballots; penalties.

     (a) Any person who, with the intent to commit fraud, obtains,

removes, or disseminates an absent voters' ballot, intimidates an

absent voter, or completes or alters an absent voters' ballot, is

guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not

less than $10,000 nor more than $20,000, imprisoned in a state

correctional facility for not less than one nor more than five

years, or both fined and imprisoned.

     (b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, any person

who, having procured an absent voter's official ballot or ballots,

shall wilfully neglect or refuse to return the same as provided in

article three of this chapter, or who shall otherwise wilfully

violate any of the provisions of said article three of this

chapter, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction

thereof, shall be fined not more than two hundred and fifty

dollars, or confined in the county jail for not more than three

months. If the clerk of the circuit court of any county, or any

member of the board of ballot commissioners, or any member of the

board of canvassers shall refuse or neglect to perform any of the

duties required of him by any of the provisions of articles three,

five and six of this chapter relating to voting by absentees or

shall disclose to any other person or persons how any absent voter

voted, he shall, in each instance, be guilty of a misdemeanor, and,

upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than five hundred

dollars, or confined in the county jail for not more than six months.







WVC 3-9-20

§3-9-20. Obstructing employees' freedom to vote; penalties.

Any corporation violating any provision of section forty-two

of article one of this chapter or preventing or attempting to

prevent any voter in its employ from attending any election, or

from freely exercising his right of suffrage, at any election, at

which he is entitled to vote, by any threat, direct or indirect,

express or implied, to discharge such voter or deprive him of his

employment, or shall discharge such voter or deprive him of his

employment because of any vote he may cast, or refuse to cast, at

any election at which he is entitled to vote, under the provisions

of this chapter, shall, in each instance, be guilty of a

misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined not more

than one thousand dollars. Any employer, other than a corporation,

whether an individual or member of an association or partnership,

and any officer, agent or manager of any corporation violating any

provision of this section or of section forty-two of article one of

this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction

thereof, shall be fined not exceeding five hundred dollars or

imprisoned in the county jail for a period not exceeding six

months, or, in the discretion of the court, be subject to both such

fine and imprisonment.







WVC 3 - 9 - 21

§3-9-21.

Repealed.

Acts, 2003 Reg. Sess., Ch. 100.







WVC 3-9-22

§3-9-22. Wagering or betting on elections; penalties.

It shall be unlawful to bet or wager money or other thing of

value on any election held in this state. Any person violating the

provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and,

upon conviction thereof, he shall forfeit the value of the money or

thing so bet or wagered and shall be fined not more than fifty

dollars.







WVC 3-9-23

§3-9-23. Punishment where penalty not prescribed or where failure

to perform duty not specifically made an offense.

Any person who shall commit any act made an offense by any

provision of this chapter, for which no penalty or punishment is

prescribed by any other provision contained therein, or any person

who shall fail to perform any duty prescribed therein which has not

been specifically made an offense, shall be guilty of a

misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more

than one thousand dollars, or, in the discretion of the court, be

confined in jail for not more than one year.







WVC 3-9-24

§3-9-24. Limitations on prosecutions.

No person shall be prosecuted for any crime or offense under

any provision of this chapter, unless upon an indictment found and

presentment made within five years after the date of the commission

of the crime or offense.





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

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