H. B. 2963
(By Delegates Cann, Coleman,
Angotti, Kominar and Stemple)
[Introduced February 26, 1999; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section five-b, article three,
chapter three of the code of West Virginia, one thousand
nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to extending
the right to use the federal write-in ballot to state voters
residing outside the country and to members of the armed
forces and their families.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section five-b, article three, chapter three of the
code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. VOTING BY ABSENTEES.
§3-3-5b. Procedures for voting a special write-in absentee ballot by qualified persons.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, a
person qualified to vote an absentee ballot in accordance with
subdivision (3), subsection (d), section one of this article may apply not earlier than the first day of January of an election
year for a special write-in absentee ballot for a primary or
general election, in conjunction with the application for a
regular absentee ballot or ballots. If the application is
received after the forty-ninth day preceding the election, the
clerk of the circuit court shall honor only the application for
the regular ballot. The special write-in ballot shall be for
presidential preference or nomination of members of Congress in
a primary election and for the election of presidential electors,
United States senator and representative in Congress in a general
election. If the voter is residing outside the United States or
a member of the United States armed forces or a family member of
a member of the armed forces, he or she may use the federal
write-in absentee ballot in general, special and primary
elections for local, state and federal offices.
(b) The application for a special write-in absentee ballot
may be made on the federal postcard application form.
(c) In order to qualify for a special write-in absentee
ballot, the voter must state that he or she is unable to vote by
regular absentee ballot or in person due to requirements of
military service or due to living in isolated areas or extremely
remote areas of the world. This statement may be made on the
federal postcard application or on a form prepared by the
secretary of state and supplied and returned with the special write-in absentee ballot.
(d) Upon receipt of said application within the time
required, the clerk shall issue the special write-in absentee
ballot which shall be the same ballot issued under the provisions
of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of
1986 (Public Law 99-410, 42 U.S.C. 1973, et seq.). Such ballot
shall permit the elector to vote in a primary election by
indicating his or her political party affiliation and the names
of the specific candidates for each office, and in a general
election by writing in a party preference for each office, the
names of specific candidates for each office, or the name of the
person whom the voter prefers for each office.
(e) When a special federal write-in ballot is received by
the clerk from a voter: (1) Who mailed the write-in ballot from
any location within the United States; (2) who did not apply for
a regular absentee ballot; (3) who did not apply for a regular
absentee ballot by mail; or (4) whose application for a regular
absentee ballot by mail was received less than thirty days before
the election, the write-in ballot shall not be counted.
(f) Any write-in absentee ballot must be received by the
clerk prior to the close of the polls on election day or it may
not be counted.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow state voters
living outside the country, members of the armed forces and
members of the family of persons in the armed forces to use the
federal write-in ballot when voting.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
which would be added.