Senate Bill No. 81

(By Senator Hunter)


[Introduced January 14, 1998; referred to the Committee
on the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend and reenact section eight, article one, chapter three of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended; and to amend and reenact section twenty-four, article five of said chapter, all relating to elections and nominating procedures; increasing ballot access by changing the definition of political party; and extending filing deadlines for certain nominating certificates.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section eight, article one, chapter three of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that section twenty-four, article five of said chapter be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
§3-1-8. Political party defined; parties or groups that may participate in municipal primary elections.

Any affiliation of voters representing any principle or organization which, at the last preceding general election, polled for its candidate for governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, attorney general or commissioner of agriculture, at least one percent of the total number of votes cast for all candidates for that office any one of the identified offices in the state, shall be a political party, within the meaning and for the purpose of this chapter: Provided, That notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the governing body of any municipality may, by ordinance adopted by the affirmative vote of at least three fourths of the members of such governing body by recorded vote, provide that municipal political parties or groups within such municipality that do not meet the requirements of this section for classification as a political party may participate in the primary elections of any such municipality. Any such ordinance shall contain provisions implementing the foregoing proviso, which implementing provisions shall conform as nearly as practicable to any general provisions of law relating to municipal primary elections.
§3-5-24. Filing of nomination certificates; time.

All certificates nominating candidates for office under the preceding section, including a candidate for the office of presidential elector, shall be filed, in the case of a candidate to be voted for by the voters of the entire state or by any subdivision thereof of the state other than a single county, with the secretary of state, and in the case of all candidates for county and magisterial district offices, including all offices to be filled by the voters of a single county, with the clerk of the circuit court of the county, not later than the day preceding the date on which the primary election is held first day of August preceding the general election. After such date the first day of August, no such certificate shall be received by such officers any officer.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to increase the ability of political parties to obtain ballot access by expanding the scope of the definition of political party and to extend the deadline for filing certain nomination certificates.

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