(b) The petitioners shall obtain a surety bond in an amount set by the governing body sufficient to cover the cost of the election. The bond shall be forfeited if a majority of the votes cast are against the proposed annexation.
(c) The governing body shall, upon receipt of the bond, order a vote of the qualified voters of the municipality to be taken upon the proposed annexation on a date and at a time and place to be named in the order.
(d) The governing body shall, at the same time, order a vote of all of the qualified voters of the additional territory and of all of the freeholders of the additional territory whether they reside or have a place of business therein or not, to be taken upon the question on the same day at some convenient place in or near the additional territory.
(e) The governing body shall cause the order for the election to be published, at the cost of the municipality, as a Class II-0 legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code. The publication area is the municipality and the additional territory. The first publication must be at least fourteen days prior to the date upon which the vote is to be taken. The order for the election shall contain an accurate description by metes and bounds of the additional territory proposed to be annexed to the corporate limits by the proposed change, a summary of the municipality's plan for providing services to the additional territory and, if practicable, shall also contain a popular description of the additional territory.
(f) The election shall be held, superintended and conducted and the results thereof ascertained, certified, returned and canvassed in the same manner by the same individuals as elections for municipal officers. The election is reviewable by the circuit court of the county in which the municipality or the major portion thereof, including the area proposed to be annexed, is located. The order may be reviewed by the circuit court as an order of a county commission ordering an election may be reviewed under section sixteen, article five of this chapter.
(g) The ballots, or ballot labels where voting machines are used, shall have written or printed on them the words:
/ / For Annexation
/ / Against Annexation
(h) Any freeholder which is a firm or corporation may vote by its manager, president or executive officer duly designated in writing by the firm or corporation.
(i) An individual who is a qualified voter and freeholder of the municipality or the additional territory shall be entitled to vote only once.
(j) For purposes of this section, the term "qualified voter of the additional territory" includes a firm or corporation in the additional territory regardless of whether the firm or corporation is a freeholder. A firm or corporation may vote by its manager, president, or executive officer duly designated in writing by the firm or corporation. In any instance where a freeholder leases or rents real property to a firm or corporation the freeholder and the firm or corporation shall determine which entity will be entitled to vote in the annexation election.
(k) When an election is held in any municipality in accordance with the provisions of this section, another election relating to the same proposed change or any part thereof shall not be held for a period of one year.
(l) If a majority of all of the legal votes cast in the municipality and a majority of all the legal votes cast in the territory are in favor of the proposed annexation, then the governing body shall proceed as specified in the immediately succeeding section of this article.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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