In all election precincts, as soon as the polls are closed and the last voter has voted, the receiving board shall proceed to ascertain the result of the election in the following manner:
(a) In counties in which the clerk of the county commission has determined that the absentee ballots should be counted at the precincts in which the absent voters are registered, the receiving board must first process the absentee ballots and deposit the ballots to be counted in the ballot box. The receiving board shall then proceed as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section. In counties in which the absentee ballots are counted at the central counting center, the receiving board shall proceed as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section.
(b) The receiving board shall ascertain from the pollbooks and record on the proper form the total number of voters who have voted. The number of ballots challenged shall be counted and subtracted from the total, the result should equal the number of ballots deposited in the ballot box. The commissioners and clerks shall also report, over their signatures, the number of ballots spoiled and the number of ballots not voted.
(c) The procedure for counting ballots, whether performed throughout the day by the counting board as provided in section thirty-three, article one of this chapter or after the close of the polls by the receiving board or by the two boards together, shall be as follows:
(1) The ballot box shall be opened and all votes shall be tallied in the presence of the entire election board;
(2) One of the commissioners shall take one ballot from the box at a time and shall determine if the ballot is properly signed by the two poll clerks of the receiving board. If not properly signed, the ballot shall be placed in an envelope for the purpose, without unfolding it. Any ballot which does not contain the proper signatures shall be challenged. If an accurate accounting is made for all ballots in the precinct in which the ballot was voted and no other challenge exists against the voter, the ballot shall be counted at the canvas. If properly signed, the commissioner shall hand the ballot to a team of commissioners of opposite politics, who shall together read the votes marked on the ballot for each office. Write-in votes for election for any person other than an official write-in candidate shall be disregarded. When a voter casts a straight ticket vote and also casts a write-in vote for an office, the straight ticket vote for that office shall be rejected whether or not a vote can be counted for a write-in candidate;
(3) The commissioner responsible for removing the ballots from the box shall keep a tally of the number of ballots as they are removed and whenever the number shall equal the number of voters entered on the pollbook minus the number of provisional ballots, as determined according to subsection (a) of this section, any other ballot found in the ballot box shall be placed in the same envelope with unsigned ballots not counted, without unfolding the same or allowing anyone to examine or know the contents thereof, and the number of excess ballots shall be recorded on the envelope;
(4) Each poll clerk shall keep an accurate tally of the votes cast by marking in ink on tally sheets, which shall be provided for the purpose, so as to show the number of votes received by each candidate for each office and for and against each issue on the ballot; and
(5) When the reading of the votes is completed, the ballot shall be immediately strung on a thread.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session