SB493 sub1 enr
Senate Bill No. 493
(Senators Kessler, Oliverio and Plymale, original sponsors)
[Passed March 5, 2008; in effect from passage.]
AN ACT to amend and reenact §3-1A-6 of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended, authorizing the Secretary of State to
implement emergency procedures to ensure the integrity of the
election process in times of natural disaster, terrorist
attack, war or general emergency.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §3-1A-6 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1A. STATE ELECTION COMMISSION AND SECRETARY OF STATE.
§3-1A-6. Powers and duties of Secretary of State; exercise of
powers by appointees.
(a) The Secretary of State shall be the chief election
official of the state. Except for those rules required by the
provisions of section five of this article to be promulgated by the
commission, the Secretary of State shall have the authority, after
consultation with the State Election Commission, of which he or she
is a member, to make, amend and rescind such orders and to
promulgate legislative rules, in accordance with the provisions of
chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, as may be necessary to standardize and make effective the provisions of this chapter. All
election officials, county commissions, clerks of county
commissions, clerks of circuit courts, boards of ballot
commissioners, election commissioners and poll clerks shall abide
by any orders that may be issued and any legislative rules that may
be promulgated by the Secretary of State and the commission.
(b) The Secretary of State also shall have authority to
require collection and report of statistical information and to
require other reports by county commissions, clerks of county
commissions and clerks of circuit courts.
(c) The Secretary of State shall also advise with election
officials; furnish to the election officials a sufficient number of
indexed copies of the current election laws of West Virginia and
the administrative orders and rules issued or promulgated
thereunder; investigate the administration of election laws, frauds
and irregularities in any registration or election; report
violations of election laws to the appropriate prosecuting
officials; and prepare an annual report.
(d) The Secretary of State shall also have the power to
administer oaths and affirmations, issue subpoenas for the
attendance of witnesses, issue subpoena duces tecum to compel the
production of books, papers, records, registration records and
other evidence and fix the time and place for hearing any matters
relating to the administration and enforcement of this chapter, or
the rules promulgated by the State Election Commission or by the
Secretary of State as the chief election official of the state. In
case of disobedience to a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum, he or
she may invoke the aid of any circuit court in requiring the attendance, evidence and testimony of witnesses and the production
of papers, books, records, registration records and other evidence.
(e) (1) The Secretary of State shall also have the power,
after consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Military
Affairs and Public Safety, to implement emergency procedures and
rules to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to
cast a valid ballot and to uphold the integrity of an election in
the event of natural disaster as declared by the Governor of this
state, terrorist attack, war or general emergency, if any of which
occur during or immediately preceding an election.
(2) For purposes of this subsection, a "general emergency"
means circumstances preventing the casting of ballots in one or
more voting precincts. The chief judge of the circuit court of the
county where the casting of ballots is being prevented
by order that a general emergency exists."
(f) All powers and
duties vested in the Secretary of State pursuant to this article
may be exercised by appointees of the Secretary of State at his or
her discretion, but the Secretary of State shall be responsible for