H. B. 2481
(By Delegates Kump and Howell)
[Introduced January 13, 2011; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §3-6-2 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to elections; forms and contents of ballots; providing a “none of the above” category of primary and general election ballots for state-wide elections of state elected offices; requiring subsequent election if the “none of the above” receives the most votes; and providing for the election to be held within one hundred twenty days or as otherwise determined by the Secretary of State.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §3-6-2 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 6. CONDUCT AND ADMINISTRATION OF ELECTIONS.
§3-6-2. Preparation and form of general election ballots.
(a) All ballots prepared under the provisions of this section are to contain:
(1) The name and ticket of each party which is a political party under the provisions of section eight, article one of this chapter;
(2) The name chosen as the party name by each group of citizens which has secured nomination for two or more candidates by petition under the provisions of section twenty-three of this article;
(3) The names of every candidate for any office to be voted for at the election whose nomination in the primary election, nomination by petition or nomination by appointment to fill a vacancy on the ballot has been certified and filed according to law and no others.
(b) The provisions of paragraphs (C) and (D), subdivision (2), section thirteen, article five of this chapter; subdivision (3) of said section; paragraphs (A) and (B), subdivision (4) of said section; and subdivisions (6), (7), (8) and (9) of said section pertaining to the preparation and form of primary election ballots shall likewise apply to general election ballots.
(c)(1) For all ballot systems, the ballot heading is to be in display type and contain the words "Official Ballot, General Election" and the name of the county and the month, day and year of the election.
(2) After the heading, each ballot is to contain, laid out in parallel columns, rows or pages as required by the particular voting system, the party emblem, the position for straight party voting for each party and the name of each party as prescribed in subsection (a) of this section. On paper ballots, the position for straight party voting is to be a heavy circle, three-fourths inch in diameter, surrounded by the words "For a straight ticket mark within this circle" printed in bold six-point type. On all other ballots or ballot labels, the positions for straight party voting is to be marked "Straight Party Ticket".
(3) The party whose candidate for president received the highest number of votes at the last preceding presidential election is to be placed in the left, or first column, row or page, as is appropriate to the voting system. The party which received the second highest vote is to be next and so on. Any groups or third parties which did not have a candidate for president on the ballot in the previous presidential election are to be placed in the sequence in which the final certificates of nomination by petition were filed.
(4)(A) The following general instructions for straight party voters are to be printed in no smaller than eight point bold type: "IF YOU MARKED A STRAIGHT TICKET: When you mark any individual candidate in a different party, that vote will override your straight party vote for that office. When you mark any individual candidate in a different party for an office where more than one will be elected, YOU MUST MARK EACH OF YOUR CHOICES FOR THAT OFFICE because your straight ticket vote will not be counted for that office". The last sentence of the instructions may not be included on any ballot which does not contain any office or division where more than one candidate will be elected.
On paper ballots, the general instructions are to be placed below the party name and across the top of all columns, followed by a heavy line separating them from the rest of the ballot: Provided, That the instructions may be centered among the columns running the full width of the ballot. On ballots marked with electronically sensible ink, the general instructions are to be placed after the position for straight voting and before any office.
(B) The following specific instructions are to be printed on the ballot for any partisan election for an office or division to which more than one candidate is to be elected: "If you marked a straight ticket and you mark any candidate in a different party for this office, you must mark all your choices for this office because your straight ticket vote will not be counted for this office".
On paper ballots, the specific instructions are to be placed below the office name of any partisan office where more than one is to be elected and across the top of all columns for that office or centered among the columns before the names of any candidates. On all other ballots and ballot labels, the specific instructions are to be placed above or to the side of the names of the candidates as the voting system requires.
(5) For all ballots, any columns, rows or sections in which the ticket of one party appears are to be clearly separated from the other columns, rows or sections by a heavy line or other clear division. For each party, the offices are to be arranged in the order prescribed in section thirteen-a, article five of this chapter under the appropriate tickets, which are to be headed "National Ticket", "State Ticket" and "County Ticket". The number of pages, columns or rows, where applicable, may be modified to meet the limitations of ballot size and composition requirements, subject to approval by the Secretary of State.
(d) The arrangement of names within each office for all ballot systems is to be as follows:
(1) In elections for presidential electors, the names of the candidates for president and vice president of each party are to be placed beside a brace with a single voting position, so that a vote for any presidential candidate is a vote for the electors of the party for which the candidates were named.
(2) The order of names of candidates for any office or division for which more than one is to be elected is determined as prescribed in section thirteen-a, article five of this chapter: Provided, That the drawing by lot is to be conducted on the seventieth day next preceding the date of the general election, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
(3) In any office where more than one person is to be elected, the names of the candidates for the office are to be staggered so that no two candidates for that office appear directly opposite any other candidate, as shown in the example below: Provided, That if the voting system cannot accurately tabulate any ballot due to this requirement, the ballot may be adjusted so that it is accurately tabulated. However, each candidate shall be separated by a thin line to distinguish between each candidate.
For House of Delegates For House of Delegates
First Delegate District First Delegate District
(Vote For Not More Than Two) (Vote For Not More Than Two)
SUSAN B. ANTHONY
(4) Each voting system is to provide a means for voters to vote for any person whose name does not appear on the ticket by writing it with pen or pencil or by using stamps, stickers, tapes, labels or other means of writing in the name of a candidate which does not interfere with the tabulation of the ballot.
(A) In paper ballot systems which allow for write-ins to be made directly on the ballot, a blank square and a blank line equal to the space which would be occupied by the name of the candidate is to be placed under the proper office for each vacancy in nomination and for an office for which more than one is to be elected, any vacancy is to appear after any other candidates for the office. If no write-in lines are included on the ballot, specific instructions are to be added to the top of the ballot notifying the voter that a write-in vote may be cast by writing the name and office on any location on the front of the ballot.
(B) In machine and electronically tabulated ballot systems in which write-in votes must be made in a place other than on the ballot, if there is a vacancy in nomination leaving fewer candidates in any party than can be elected to that office, the words "No Candidate Nominated" is to be printed in the space that would be occupied by the name of the candidate and for an office for which more than one is to be elected, any vacancy is to appear after any other candidates for the office. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, if there are multiple vacant positions on a ballot for one office, the multiple vacant positions which would otherwise be filled with the words "No Candidate Filed" may be replaced with a brief detailed description, approved by the Secretary of State, indicating that there are no candidates listed for the vacant positions.
(5) In a general election in any county in which unexpired terms of the board of education are to be filled by election, a separate section or page of the ballot is to be set off by means clearly separating the nonpartisan ballot from the ballot for the political party candidates and is to be headed "Nonpartisan Board of Education".
(e) Any Constitutional amendment is to be placed following all offices, followed by any other issue upon which the voters are to cast a vote. The heading for each amendment or issue is to be printed in large, bold type according to the requirements of the resolution authorizing the election.
(f) The board of ballot commissioners may not place any issue on the ballot for election which is not specifically authorized under the West Virginia Constitution or statutes or which has not been properly ordered by the appropriate governmental body charged with calling the election.
(g) Every official ballot for state-wide elected offices shall contain, at the bottom of the list of candidates, a separated line containing the words “none of the above”. If the “none of the above” receives a majority of the votes for the election to the state-wide office, that office shall be declared vacant and a subsequent election shall be held within one hundred twenty days, or at such time as otherwise determined by the Secretary of State.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide a “none of the above” category on general election ballots for state-wide elections of state elected offices. It also provides for declaring an state-wide office vacant if “none of the above” votes are in the majority and requires subsequent election within one hundred twenty days or as otherwise determined by the Secretary of State.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.