H. B. 2343
(By Delegates Morgan, Leach,
Caputo, Beane and Michael)
[Introduced February 15, 2005; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §3-1-21 of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended, relating to providing that candidates for
statewide political office belonging to the party with the
most registered voters in the State, or in the case of
congressional elections, then belonging to the political party
with the most registered voters in the congressional district,
be placed in a preeminent position on the election ballot;
charging the Secretary of State with the duty of determining
officially which party has the most registered voters.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §3-1-21 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS.
§3-1-21. Printing of official and sample ballots; number;
packaging and delivery, correction of ballots.
(a) The board of ballot commissioners for each county shall
provide the ballots and sample ballots necessary for conducting
every election for public officers in which the voters of the
(b) The persons required to provide the ballots necessary for
conducting all other elections are:
(1) The Secretary of State, for any statewide special election
ordered by the Legislature;
(2) The board of ballot commissioners, for any countywide
special election ordered by the county commission;
(3) The board of education, for any special levy or bond
election ordered by the board of education; or
(4) The municipal board of ballot commissioners, for any
election conducted for or within a municipality except an election
in which the matter affecting the municipality is placed on the
county ballot at a county election. Ballots other than those
printed by the proper authorities as specified in this section
shall not be cast, received or counted in any election.
(c) When paper ballots are used, the total number of regular
official ballots printed shall equal one and one-twentieth times
the number of registered voters eligible to vote that ballot. The
circuit clerk shall determine the number of absentee official
(d) The number of regular official ballots packaged for each precinct shall equal the number of registered voters of the
precinct. The remaining regular official ballots shall be packaged
and delivered to the circuit clerk who shall retain them unopened
until they are required for an emergency. Each package of ballots
shall be wrapped and sealed in a manner which will immediately make
apparent any attempt to open, alter or tamper with the ballots.
Each package of ballots for a precinct shall be clearly labeled in
a manner which cannot be altered, with the county name, the
precinct number and the number of ballots contained in each
package. If the packaging material conceals the face of the
ballot, a sample ballot identical to the official ballots contained
therein shall be securely attached to the outside of the package
or, in the case of ballot cards, the type of ballot shall be
included in the label.
(e) All absentee ballots necessary for conducting absentee
voting in all voting systems shall be delivered to the circuit
clerk of the appropriate county not later than the forty-second day
before the election. In counties where the clerk of the county
commission is responsible for conducting absentee voting, the
circuit clerk shall transfer the absentee ballots to the clerk of
the county commission prior to the beginning of absentee voting.
All official ballots in paper ballot systems shall be delivered to
the circuit clerk of the appropriate county not later than
twenty-eight days before the election.
(f) All ballots in any statewide or congressional election
shall place the names of the political candidates whose party has
the largest number of registered voters in the State, or in the
case of a congressional race, then in the congressional district,
at the first or priority position on the ballot than those
candidates whose party has the second highest number of registered
voters: Provided, That the Secretary of State shall officially
determine which party has the highest number of registered voters
in the State or in the congressional district.
Upon a finding of the board of ballot commissioners
that an official ballot contains an error which, in the opinion of
the board, is of sufficient magnitude as to confuse or mislead the
voters, the board shall cause the error to be corrected either by
the reprinting of the ballots or by the use of stickers printed
with the correction and of suitable size to be placed over the
error without covering any other portion of the ballot.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide that candidates
for statewide political office belonging to the party with the most
registered voters in the state, or in the case of congressional
elections, then belonging to the political party with the most
registered voters in the congressional district, be placed in a
preeminent position on the election ballot. The bill also charges
the secretary of state with the duty of determining officially
which party has the most registered voters.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would