House Bill 2961 History
H. B. 2961
(By Delegate Hall)
[Introduced March 10, 2005; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §3-1-17 of the code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended; to amend and reenact §3-5-4 of said code;
and to amend and reenact §50-1-1 of said code, all relating to
election of magistrates, providing for numbered divisions
within counties having more than one magistrate for election
purposes only beginning with the primary and general elections
to be held in the year two thousand eight; and providing for
the nomination or election of a candidate for magistrate
receiving the highest number of votes within a division.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §3-1-17 of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted; that §3-5-4 of said code be amended and
reenacted; and that §50-1-1 of said code be amended and reenacted,
all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 3. ELECTIONS.
ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS.
§3-1-17. Election of circuit judges; county and district officers;
There shall be elected, at the general election to be held in
the year one thousand nine hundred ninety-two, and in every eighth
year thereafter, one judge of the circuit court of every judicial
circuit entitled to but one judge, and one judge for each numbered
division of the judicial circuit in those judicial circuits
entitled to two or more circuit judges; and at the general election
to be held in the year one thousand nine hundred ninety-two, and in
every fourth year thereafter, a sheriff, prosecuting attorney,
surveyor of lands, and the number of assessors prescribed by law
for the county, and the number of magistrates prescribed by law for
the county: Provided, That there shall be elected at the general
election to be held in the year two thousand eight, and in every
fourth year thereafter, one magistrate of every county entitled to
but one magistrate and one magistrate for each numbered division
for magistrates in those counties entitled to two or more
magistrates; and at the general election to be held in the year,
one thousand nine hundred ninety, and in every second year
thereafter, a commissioner of the county commission for each
county; and at the general election to be held in the year, one
thousand nine hundred ninety-two, and in every sixth year
thereafter, a clerk of the county commission and a clerk of the circuit court for each county.
ARTICLE 5. PRIMARY ELECTIONS AND NOMINATING PROCEDURES.
§3-5-4. Nomination of candidates in primary elections.
At each primary election, the candidate or candidates of each
political party for all offices to be filled at the ensuing general
election by the voters of the entire State, of each congressional
district, of each State senatorial district, of each delegate
district, of each judicial circuit of West Virginia, of each
county, and of each magisterial district in the State shall be
nominated by the voters of the different political parties, except
that no presidential elector shall be nominated at a primary
In primary elections a plurality of the votes cast shall be
sufficient for the nomination of candidates for office. Where only
one candidate of a political party for any office in a political
division, including party committeemen and delegates to national
conventions, is to be chosen, or where a judicial circuit has two
or more circuit judges and one circuit judge is to be chosen for
each numbered division within the circuit, or where a county is
entitled to two or more magistrates and one magistrate is to be
chosen for each numbered division for magistrate in the county,
the candidate receiving the highest number of votes therefor in the
primary election shall be declared the party nominee for such
office. Where two or more such candidates are to be chosen in the primary election, the candidates constituting the proper number to
be so chosen who shall receive the highest number of votes cast in
the political division in which they are candidates shall be
declared the party nominees and choices for such offices, except
that: (1) Candidates for the office of commissioner of the county
commission shall be nominated and elected in accordance with the
provisions of section ten, article nine of the Constitution of the
State of West Virginia; (2) members of county boards of education
shall be elected at primary elections in accordance with the
provisions of sections five and six of this article; (3) candidates
for the House of Delegates shall be nominated and elected in
accordance with the residence restrictions provided in section two,
article two, chapter one of this code; and (4) in judicial circuits
having numbered divisions and in counties with numbered divisions
for the office of magistrate, each numbered division shall be
tallied separately and the candidate in each division receiving a
plurality of the votes cast shall be declared the party nominee for
the office in that numbered division.
In case of tie votes between candidates for party nominations
or elections in primary elections, the choice of the political
party shall be determined by the executive committee of the party
for the political division in which such persons are candidates.
CHAPTER 50. MAGISTRATE COURTS.
ARTICLE 1. COURTS AND OFFICERS.
§50-1-1. Magistrate court created.
There is hereby created in each county of this State a
magistrate court with such numbers of magistrates for each court as
are hereafter provided. There shall be elected by the voters of
each county, at the general election to be held in the year one
thousand nine hundred seventy-six, and in every fourth year
thereafter, such number of magistrates as is provided in section
two of this article. Beginning with the primary and general
elections to be conducted in the year two thousand eight, and in
every fourth year thereafter, in all counties having two or more
magistrates there shall be, for election purposes, numbered
divisions corresponding to the number of magistrates to be elected.
Each magistrate will be elected at large from the entire county.
In each numbered division, the candidates for nomination or
election shall be voted upon and the votes cast for the candidates
in each division shall be tallied separately from the votes cast
for candidates in other numbered divisions within the county. The
candidate receiving the highest number of votes within a numbered
division shall be nominated or elected, as the case may be. The
filing fee for the office of magistrate shall be one percent of the
annual salary. The term of magistrates shall be for four years and
shall begin on the first day of January of the year following the
year of election.
In counties where voting machines or electronic voting systems are used, the procedures of section eleven, article four, chapter
three and section twelve, article four-a of said chapter three of
this code shall apply respectively to the election of magistrates
in the same manner as they apply to the election of members of the
House of Delegates.
Notwithstanding the provisions of section seven, article five,
chapter three of this code, for purposes of the primary election to
be held in the year one thousand nine hundred seventy-six, the last
day for filing certificates of candidacy for the office of
magistrate shall be extended to the twenty-seventh day of February
of that year.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide for numbered
divisions for the nomination and election of magistrates in
counties that have two or more magistrates, beginning in the year
2008. The divisions and election procedures therefor are
essentially similar as provided for the nomination and election of
circuit judges in circuits having more than one judge.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would