H. B. 3134
(By Delegates Fleischauer, Beach, Marshall,
Shook, Hunt, Frazier, Brown, Miley,
Longstreth, Lawrence and Manchin)
[Introduced March 13, 2009; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new article, designated §3-3A-1, §3-3A-2 and
§3-3A-3, all relating to a vote by mail pilot program;
requiring the Secretary of State select five municipalities
for a pilot project; and rules governing the elections.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new article, designated §3-3A-1, §3-3A-2 and
§3-3A-3, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3A. VOTING BY MAIL PILOT PROGRAM.
§3-3A-1. Voting by mail pilot program.
(a) The Secretary of State shall establish procedures to allow
five municipalities in the state to conduct a voting by mail pilot
program. All registered and other qualified voters of the
municipalities may vote a ballot by mail during the pilot program
period of voting by mail.
§3-3A-2. Authority to conduct voting by mail; voting by mail
(a) Voting may be by mail during the vote by mail pilot
program experimental period for an election held on the date of the
primary or general election in those municipalities selected by the
Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall by rule direct
that an election to be conducted by mail under the provisions of
this article be conducted uniformly by mail or at polling places.
The Secretary of State shall adopt rules to (1) provide for
uniformity in the conduct of state elections by mail; and (2)
govern the procedures for conducting elections by mail.
(b) A County Clerk may conduct an election described in this
section by mail in the municipality under the supervision of the
Secretary of State. The County Clerk may consider requests from
the governing body of the municipality and shall consider whether
conducting the election by mail will be economically and
administratively feasible, in deciding to conduct an election by
§3-3A-3. How voting by mail to be conducted.
(a) An election by mail shall be conducted as provided in this
section. The Secretary of State shall adopt rules governing
procedures for conducting an election by mail in a pilot program to
be held in five municipalities in the state. Secretary of State by
rule shall establish requirements and criteria for the designation
of places of deposit for the ballots cast in an election. The
rules shall also specify the dates and times the places of deposit
must be open and the security requirements for the places of
deposit. The places designated under this section shall be open on the dated of the election for a period of eight or more hours, but
must be open until at least eight p.m., at a minimum. The county
clerk shall prominently display a sign stating that the location is
an official ballot drop site, at each place of deposit. Except as
provided in subsection (b) of this section, the county clerk shall
mail a nonforwardable official ballot with a return identification
envelope and a secrecy envelope not sooner than the eighteenth day
before the date of an election conducted by mail and not later than
the fourteenth day before the date of the election, to each active
voter of the pilot program municipality as of the twenty-first day
before the election.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this
section, if the county clerk determines that an active voter of the
pilot program municipality as of the twenty-first day before the
date of the election does not receive daily mail service from the
United States Postal Service, the clerk shall mail by
nonforwardable mail an official ballot with a return identification
envelope and a secrecy envelope to the voter not sooner than the
eighteenth day before the date of the election.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize a vote by mail
pilot program. The Secretary of State is to select five
municipalities for participation in the pilot project and adopt
rules governing the elections by mail.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would