H. B. 3133
(By Delegate Campbell)
[Introduced March 25, 2013; referred to the
Committee on Education then the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §3-3-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to voting by absentees; permitting absentee voting by nonresident taxpayers on school levy or school bond proposals; and providing responsibilities of county boards of education with regard to the elections.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §3-3-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. VOTING BY ABSENTEES.
§3-3-1. Persons eligible to vote absentee ballots.
(a) All registered and other qualified voters of the county may vote an absentee ballot during the period of early voting in person.
(b) Registered voters and other qualified voters in the county are authorized to vote an absentee ballot by mail in the following circumstances:
(1) Any voter who is confined to a specific location and prevented from voting in person throughout the period of voting in person because of:
(A) Illness, injury or other medical reason;
(B) Physical disability or immobility due to extreme advanced age; or
(C) Incarceration or home detention: Provided, That the underlying conviction is not for a crime which is a felony or a violation of section twelve, thirteen or sixteen, article nine of this chapter involving bribery in an election;
(2) Any voter who is absent from the county throughout the period and available hours for voting in person because of:
(A) Personal or business travel;
(B) Attendance at a college, university or other place of education or training; or
(C) Employment which because of hours worked and distance from the county seat make voting in person impossible;
(3) Any voter absent from the county throughout the period and available hours for voting in person and who is an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter, as defined by 42 U.S.C. §1973, et seq., the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986, including members of the uniformed services on active duty, members of the merchant marine, spouses and dependents of those members on active duty and persons who reside outside the United States and are qualified to vote in the last place in which the person was domiciled before leaving the United States;
(4) Any voter who is required to dwell temporarily outside the county and is absent from the county throughout the time for voting in person because of:
(A) Serving as an elected or appointed federal or state officer; or
(B) Serving in any other documented employment assignment of specific duration of four years or less;
(5) Any voter for whom the designated area for absentee voting within the county courthouse or annex of the courthouse and the voter’s assigned polling place are inaccessible because of his or her physical disability; and
(6) Any voter who is participating in the Address Confidentiality Program as established by section one hundred three, article twenty-eight-a, chapter forty-eight of this code.
(c) Registered voters and other qualified voters in the county may, in the following circumstances, vote an emergency absentee ballot, subject to the availability of the services as provided in this article:
(1) Any voter who is confined or expects to be confined in a hospital or other duly licensed health care facility within the county of residence or other authorized area, as provided in this article, on the day of the election;
(2) Any voter who resides in a nursing home within the county of residence and would be otherwise unable to vote in person, providing the county commission has authorized the services if the voter has resided in the nursing home for a period of less than thirty days; and
(3) Any voter who is working as a replacement poll worker and is assigned to a precinct out of his or her voting district, if the assignment was made after the period for voting an absentee ballot in person has expired.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code or law to the contrary, persons who own property and are paying taxes on the property but who do not live in the county where the property is located may vote an absentee ballot during the period of early voting in person or an absentee ballot by mail when a school levy or school bond is being proposed.
The county board of education that is proposing a levy or bond shall send property owners who live outside of the county a written notice and postage prepaid envelop enclosed. The notice shall advise the property owners of an upcoming school levy or bond election their right to vote an absentee ballot on the issue. The board shall include a form for the property owners to sign indicating with either a “YES or NO” that the property owners want an absentee ballot sent to them so their vote will counted on the issue. Eligible nonresident voters shall be determined by the records of the county assessor’s office.
The board of education shall send to the out of county tax payers any documents pertaining to a levy or bond that will explain the process, from start to finish, including the times and locations of any public forums that are going to be conduced by the board of education. The board of education shall include in the explanation how much of an increase will be added to their tax statement if a levy of bond is passed. The board of education shall contact the county clerk's office with the number of absentee ballots that need to be sent. The board of education shall provide a return postage paid envelope addressed to the county clerks office in a timely matter so that every person’s ballot will be counted.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to permit absentee voting by nonresident taxpayers on school levy or school bond proposals. The bill also provides the responsibilities of county boards of education with regard to the elections.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.