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Introduced Version Senate Bill 57 History

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Senate Bill No. 57

(By Senators Jenkins, McCabe, Barnes and Sypolt)

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[Introduced January 12, 2011; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]

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A BILL to amend and reenact §3-1-16 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; to amend and reenact §3-4A-11a of said code; to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §3-5-6a; to amend and reenact §3-5-7, §3-5-13 and §3-5-13a of said code; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §3-6-2a, all relating to the nonpartisan election of Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals; timing and frequency of election; ballot design and printing; separation from partisan ballot; nonpartisan election of justices; filing announcement of candidacies; withdrawal of announcement of candidacies; refund of paid filing fees; and ballot content and form.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §3-1-16 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; that §3-4A-11a of said code be amended and reenacted; that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §3-5-6a; that §3-5-7, §3-5-13 and §3-5-13a of said code be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §3-6-2a, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS.

§3-1-16. Election of state officers.

    (a) At the general election to be held in the year 1968, and in every fourth year thereafter, there shall be elected a Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor, Attorney General, and Commissioner of Agriculture. At the general election in the year 1968, and in every second year thereafter, there shall be elected a member of the state Senate for each senatorial district, and a member or members of the House of Delegates of the state from each county or each delegate district. At the general election to be held in the year 1968, and in every twelve year years thereafter, there shall be elected one judge Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals, and at the general election to be held in the year 1972, and in every twelve year years thereafter, two judges Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals, and at the general election to be held in the year 1976, and in every twelve year years thereafter, two judges Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

    (b) Effective with the general election held in the year 2012, the election of Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals shall be held on a nonpartisan basis.

ARTICLE 4A. ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS.

§3-4A-11a. Ballots tabulated electronically; arrangement, quantity to be printed, ballot stub numbers.

    (a) The board of ballot commissioners in counties using ballots upon which votes may be recorded by means of marking with electronically sensible ink or pencil and which marks are tabulated electronically shall cause the ballots to be printed or displayed upon the screens of the electronic voting system for use in elections.

    (b)(1) For the primary election, the heading of the ballot, the type faces, the names and arrangement of offices and the printing of names and arrangement of candidates within each office are to conform as nearly as possible to the provisions of sections thirteen and thirteen-a, article five of this chapter.

    (2) For the general election, the heading of the ballot, the straight ticket positions, the instructions to straight ticket voters, the type faces, the names and arrangement of offices and the printing of names and the arrangement of candidates within each office are to conform as nearly as possible to the provisions of section two, article six of this chapter, except as otherwise provided in this article.

    (3) Nonpartisan elections for Board of Education, Justices for the Supreme Court of Appeals and any question to be voted upon are to be separated from the partisan ballot and separately headed in display type with a title clearly identifying the purpose of the election and constituting a separate ballot wherever a separate ballot is required under the provisions of this chapter.

    (4) Both the face and the reverse side of the ballot may contain the names of candidates only if means to ensure the secrecy of the ballot are provided and lines for the signatures of the poll clerks on the ballot are printed on a portion of the ballot which is deposited in the ballot box and upon which marks do not interfere with the proper tabulation of the votes.

    (5) The arrangement of candidates within each office is to be determined in the same manner as for other electronic voting systems, as prescribed in this chapter. On the general election ballot for all offices, and on the primary election ballot only for those offices to be filled by election, except delegate to national convention, lines for entering write-in votes are to be provided below the names of candidates for each office, and the number of lines provided for any office shall equal the number of persons to be elected, or three, whichever is fewer. The words "WRITE-IN, IF ANY" are to be printed, where applicable, directly under each line for write-ins. The lines are to be opposite a position to mark the vote.

    (c) Except for electronic voting systems that utilize screens upon which votes may be recorded by means of a stylus or by means of touch, the primary election ballots are to be printed in the color of ink specified by the Secretary of State for the various political parties, and the general election ballot is to be printed in black ink. For electronic voting systems that utilize screens upon which votes may be recorded by means of a stylus or by means of touch, the primary ballots and the general election ballot are to be printed in black ink. All ballots are to be printed, where applicable, on white paper suitable for automatic tabulation and are to contain a perforated stub at the top or bottom of the ballot, which is to be numbered sequentially in the same manner as provided in section thirteen, article five of this chapter, or are to be displayed on the screens of the electronic voting system upon which votes are recorded by means of a stylus or touch. The number of ballots printed and the packaging of ballots for the precincts are to conform to the requirements for paper ballots provided in this chapter.

    (d) In addition to the official ballots, the ballot commissioners shall provide all other materials and equipment necessary to the proper conduct of the election.

ARTICLE 5. PRIMARY ELECTIONS AND NOMINATING PROCEDURES.

§3-5-6a. Election of Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

    (a) An election for the purpose of electing a justice or justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals shall be held on the same date as the general election, as provided by law, but upon a nonpartisan ballot printed for this purpose.

    (b) In each nonpartisan election for a justice or justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals, the board of canvassers shall declare and certify the election of the required number of eligible candidates receiving the highest numbers of votes to fill any full terms.

    (c) It is the intent of this section that any person declared to be elected under this section shall take office as a duly elected justice, even though the person received a plurality of all votes cast at such election.

    (d) In case of a tie vote under this section, the provisions of section twelve, article six of this chapter shall control in breaking the tie.

§3-5-7. Filing announcements of candidacies; requirements; withdrawal of candidates when section applicable.

    (a) Any person who is eligible and seeks to hold an office or political party position to be filled by election in any primary or general election held under the provisions of this chapter shall file a certificate of announcement declaring his or her candidacy for the nomination or election to the office.

    (b) The certificate of announcement shall be filed as follows:

    (1) Candidates for the House of Delegates or the State Senate and any other office or political position to be filled by the voters of more than one county shall file a certificate of announcement with the Secretary of State.

    (2) Candidates for an office or political position to be filled by the voters of a single county or a subdivision of a county, except for candidates for the House of Delegates or State Senate, shall file a certificate of announcement with the clerk of the county commission.

    (3) Candidates for an office to be filled by the voters of a municipality shall file a certificate of announcement with the recorder or city clerk.

    (c) Except for the offices of Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals, which are to be filled on a nonpartisan basis beginning at the general election held in the year 2012, the certificate of announcement shall be filed with the proper officer not earlier than the second Monday in January next preceding the primary election day, and not later than the last Saturday in January next preceding the primary election day, and must be received before midnight, eastern standard time, of that day or, if mailed, shall be postmarked by the United States Postal Service before that hour. The office of Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals, beginning in the year 2012, shall be filled on a nonpartisan basis at the general election. The certificate of announcement shall be filed with the authorized election official not later than the second Tuesday in May, and must be received before midnight, eastern standard time, of that day or, if mailed, shall be postmarked by the United States Postal Service before midnight, eastern standard time, of that day. All certificates of announcement for the office of Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals, which were filed not earlier than the second Monday in January next preceding the primary election day, and not later than the last Saturday in January next preceding the primary election day, and were received before midnight, eastern standard time, of that day or, if mailed, were postmarked by the United States Postal Service before that hour, may be withdrawn on or before midnight, eastern standard time, of the second Tuesday in May, in accordance with the provisions of article five, section eleven of this chapter, with a full refund of any filing fees paid or, if not withdrawn, shall be effective for purposes of the nonpartisan election for such offices to be held on general election day.

    (d) The certificate of announcement shall be on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State on which the candidate shall make a sworn statement before a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths, containing the following information:

    (1) The date of the election in which the candidate seeks to appear on the ballot;

    (2) The name of the office sought; the district, if any; and the division, if any;

    (3) The legal name of the candidate and the exact name the candidate desires to appear on the ballot, subject to limitations prescribed in section thirteen, article five of this chapter;

    (4) The county of residence and a statement that the candidate is a legally qualified voter of that county; and the magisterial district of residence for candidates elected from magisterial districts or under magisterial district limitations;

    (5) The specific address designating the location at which the candidate resides at the time of filing, including number and street or rural route and box number and city, state and zip code;

    (6) For partisan elections, the name of the candidate's political party and a statement that the candidate: (A) Is a member of and affiliated with that political party as evidenced by the candidate's current registration as a voter affiliated with that party; and (B) has not been registered as a voter affiliated with any other political party for a period of sixty days before the date of filing the announcement;

    (7) For candidates for delegate to national convention, the name of the presidential candidate to be listed on the ballot as the preference of the candidate on the first convention ballot; or a statement that the candidate prefers to remain "uncommitted";

    (8) A statement that the person filing the certificate of announcement is a candidate for the office in good faith;

    (9) The words "subscribed and sworn to before me this ______ day of _____________, 20____" and a space for the signature of the officer giving the oath.

    (e) The Secretary of State or the board of ballot commissioners, as the case may be, may refuse to certify the candidacy or may remove the certification of the candidacy upon receipt of a certified copy of the voter's registration record of the candidate showing that the candidate was registered as a voter in a party other than the one named in the certificate of announcement during the sixty days immediately preceding the filing of the certificate: Provided, That unless a signed formal complaint of violation of this section and the certified copy of the voter's registration record of the candidate are filed with the officer receiving that candidate's certificate of announcement no later than ten days following the close of the filing period, the candidate may not be refused certification for this reason.

    (f) The certificate of announcement shall be subscribed and sworn to by the candidate before some officer qualified to administer oaths, who shall certify the same. Any person who knowingly provides false information on the certificate is guilty of false swearing and shall be punished in accordance with section three, article nine of this chapter.

    (g) Any candidate for delegate to a national convention may change his or her statement of presidential preference by notifying the Secretary of State by letter received by the Secretary of State no later than the third Tuesday following the close of candidate filing. When the rules of the political party allow each presidential candidate to approve or reject candidates for delegate to convention who may appear on the ballot as committed to that presidential candidate, the presidential candidate or the candidate's committee on his or her behalf may file a list of approved or rejected candidates for delegate and the Secretary of State shall list as "uncommitted" any candidate for delegate who is disapproved by the presidential candidate.

    (h) A person may not be a candidate for more than one office or office division at any election: Provided, That a candidate for an office may also be a candidate for President of the United States, for membership on political party executive committees or for delegate to a political party national convention.

    (I) A candidate who files a certificate of announcement for more than one office or division and does not withdraw, as provided by section eleven, article five of this chapter, from all but one office prior to the close of the filing period may not be certified by the Secretary of State or placed on the ballot for any office by the board of ballot commissioners.

    (j) The provisions of this section enacted during the regular session of the Legislature in the year 1991 shall apply to the primary election held in the year 1992 and every primary election held thereafter. The provisions of this section enacted during the regular session of the Legislature in the year 2009 shall apply to the primary election held in the year 2010 and every primary election held thereafter.

§3-5-13. Form and contents of ballots.

    The face of every primary election ballot shall conform as nearly as practicable to that used at the general election.

    (1) The heading of every ballot is to be printed in display type. The heading is to contain a ballot title, the name of the county, the state, the words "Primary Election" and the month, day and year of the election. The ballot title of the political party ballots is to contain the words "Official Ballot of the (Name) Party" and the official symbol of the political party may be included in the heading. The ballot title of any separate paper ballot or portion of any electronic or voting machine ballot for the board of education is to contain the words "Nonpartisan Ballot of Election of Members of the ______________ County Board of Education". The districts for which less than two candidates may be elected and the number of available seats are to be specified and the names of the candidates are to be printed without reference to political party affiliation and without designation as to a particular term of office. The ballot title of any separate paper ballot or portion of any electronic or voting machine ballot for the Supreme Court of Appeals shall contain the words “Nonpartisan Ballot of Election of Justice(s) of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.” The names of the candidates for the Supreme Court of Appeals shall be printed without references to political party affiliation or registration. Any other ballot or portion of a ballot on a question is to have a heading which clearly states the purpose of the election according to the statutory requirements for that question.

    (2) (A) For paper ballots, the heading of the ballot is to be separated from the rest of the ballot by heavy lines and the offices shall be arranged in columns with the following headings, from left to right across the ballot: "National Ticket", "State Ticket", "County Ticket" and, in a presidential election year, "National Convention" or, in a nonpresidential election year, "District Ticket". The columns are to be separated by heavy lines. Within the columns, the offices are to be arranged in the order prescribed in section thirteen-a of this article.

    (B) For voting machines, electronic voting devices and any ballot tabulated by electronic means, the offices are to appear in the same sequence as prescribed in section thirteen-a of this article and under the same headings as prescribed in subsection (a) of this section. 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.

    (C) The title of each office is to be separated from preceding offices or candidates by a line and is to be printed in bold type no smaller than eight point. Below the office is to be printed the number of the district, if any, the number of the division, if any, and the words "Vote for ________" with the number to be nominated or elected or "Vote For Not More Than ________" in multicandidate elections. For offices in which there are limitations relating to the number of candidates which may be nominated, elected or appointed to or hold office at one time from a political subdivision within the district or county in which they are elected, there is to be a clear explanation of the limitation, as prescribed by the Secretary of State, printed in bold type immediately preceding the names of the candidates for those offices on the ballot in every voting system. For counties in which the number of county commissioners exceeds three and the total number of members of the county commission is equal to the number of magisterial districts within the county, the office of county commission is to be listed separately for each district to be filled with the name of the magisterial district and the words "Vote for One" printed below the name of the office: Provided, That the office title and applicable instructions may span the width of the ballot so as it is centered among the respective columns.

    (D) The location for indicating the voter's choices on the ballot is to be clearly shown. For paper ballots, other than those tabulated electronically, the official primary ballot is to contain a square formed in dark lines at the left of each name on the ballot, arranged in a perpendicular column of squares before each column of names.

    (3)(A) The name of every candidate certified by the Secretary of State or the board of ballot commissioners is to be printed in capital letters in no smaller than eight point type on the ballot for the appropriate precincts. Subject to the rules promulgated by the Secretary of State, the name of each candidate is to appear in the form set out by the candidate on the certificate of announcement, but in no case may the name misrepresent the identity of the candidate nor may the name include any title, position, rank, degree or nickname implying or inferring any status as a member of a class or group or affiliation with any system of belief.

    (B) The city of residence of every candidate, the state of residence of every candidate residing outside the state, the county of residence of every candidate for an office on the ballot in more than one county and the magisterial district of residence of every candidate for an office subject to magisterial district limitations are to be printed in lower case letters beneath the names of the candidates.

    (C) The arrangement of names within each office must be determined as prescribed in section thirteen-a of this article.

    (D) If the number of candidates for an office exceeds the space available on a column or ballot page and requires that candidates for a single office be separated, to the extent possible, the number of candidates for the office on separate columns or pages are to be nearly equal and clear instructions given the voter that the candidates for the office are continued on the following column or page.

    (4) When an insufficient number of candidates has filed for a party to make the number of nominations allowed for the office or for the voters to elect sufficient members to the board of education or to executive committees, the vacant positions on the ballot shall be filled with the words "No Candidate Filed": Provided, That in paper ballot systems which allow for write-ins to be made directly on the ballot, a blank line shall be placed in any vacant position in the office of board of education or for election to any party executive committee. A line shall separate each candidate from every other candidate for the same 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 presidential election years, the words "For election in accordance with the plan adopted by the party and filed with the Secretary of State" is to be printed following the names of all candidates for delegate to national convention.

    (6) All paper ballots are to be printed in black ink on paper sufficiently thick so that the printing or marking cannot be discernible from the back: Provided, That no paper ballot voted pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. §1973, et seq., the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986, or Federal write-in absentee ballot may be rejected due to paper type, envelope type, or notarization requirement. Ballot cards and paper for printing ballots using electronically sensible ink are to meet minimum requirements of the tabulating systems and are to conform in size and weight to ensure ease in tabulation.

    (7) Ballots are to contain perforated tabs at the top of the ballots and are to be printed with unique sequential numbers from one to the highest number representing the total number of ballots printed. On paper ballots, the ballot is to be bordered by a solid line at least one sixteenth of an inch wide and the ballot is to be trimmed to within one-half inch of that border.

    (8) On the back of every official ballot or ballot card the words "Official Ballot" with the name of the county and the date of the election are to be printed. Beneath the date of the election there are to be two blank lines followed by the words "Poll Clerks".

    (9) The face of sample paper ballots and sample ballot labels are to be like other official ballots or ballot labels except that the word "sample" is to be prominently printed across the front of the ballot in a manner that ensures the names of candidates are not obscured and the word "sample" may be printed in red ink. No printing may be placed on the back of the sample.

§3-5-13a. Order of offices and candidates on the ballot; uniform drawing date.

    (a) The order of offices for state and county elections on all ballots within the state shall be as prescribed herein. When the office does not appear on the ballot in an election, then it shall be omitted from the sequence. When an unexpired term for an office appears on the ballot along with a full term, the unexpired term shall appear immediately below the full term.

    NATIONAL TICKET: President (and Vice President in the general election), United States Senator, member of the United States House of Representatives

    STATE TICKET: Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Commissioner of Agriculture, Attorney General, Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals, State Senator, member of the House of Delegates, circuit judge in multicounty districts, family court judge in multicounty districts, any other multicounty office, state executive committee

    COUNTY TICKET: Circuit judge in single-county districts, family court judge in single-county districts, clerk of the circuit court, county commissioner, clerk of the county commission, prosecuting attorney, sheriff, assessor, magistrate, surveyor, congressional district executive committee, senatorial district executive committee in multicounty districts, delegate district executive committee in multicounty districts

    NATIONAL CONVENTION: Delegate to the national convention -- at-large, delegate to the national convention -- congressional district

    DISTRICT TICKET: County executive committee.

    (b) Except for office divisions in which no more than one person has filed a certificate of announcement, the arrangement of names for all offices shall be determined by lot according to the following provisions:

    (1) On the fourth Tuesday following the close of the candidate filing, beginning at nine o'clock a. m., a drawing by lot shall be conducted in the office of the clerk of the county commission in each county. Notice of the drawing shall be given on the form for the certificate of announcement and no further notice shall be required. The clerk of the county commission shall superintend and conduct the drawing and the method of conducting the drawing shall be prescribed by the Secretary of State.

    (2) Except as provided herein, the position of each candidate within each office division shall be determined by the position drawn for that candidate individually: Provided, That if fewer candidates file for an office division than the total number to be nominated or elected, the vacant positions shall appear following the names of all candidates for the office.

    (3) Candidates for delegate to national convention who have filed a commitment to a candidate for president shall be listed alphabetically within the group of candidates committed to the same candidate for president and uncommitted candidates shall be listed alphabetically in an uncommitted category. The position of each group of committed candidates and uncommitted candidates shall be determined by lot by drawing the names of the presidential candidates and for an uncommitted category.

    (4) A candidate or the candidate's representative may attend the drawings.

ARTICLE 6. CONDUCT AND ADMINISTRATION OF ELECTIONS.

§3-6-2a. General election ballots for election of Justices of the            Supreme Court of Appeals.

    The general election ballot shall contain a separate section listing the names of candidates for Justice of the Supreme Court, clearly separate and apart from the listing of the names on the ballot for political party candidates for partisan offices, and shall include a heading of: "Nonpartisan Ballot of Election of Justice(s) of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia" with the names of all candidates for that nonpartisan election listed thereunder with no other offices listed in that section or that ballot as appropriate.



 

    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow Supreme Court Justices to be elected on a nonpartisan ballot.


    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.


    §3-5-6a and §3-6-2a are new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.

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