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Introduced Version House Bill 2343 History

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hb2343 intr
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 county participate.
(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 ballots.
(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.
(f) (g) 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 be added.
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