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Introduced Version Senate Bill 505 History

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Senate Bill No. 505

(By Senators Palumbo and Plymale)

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[Introduced February 14, 2011; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary; and then to the Committee on Finance.]

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A BILL to repeal §3-2-24 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; to amend and reenact §3-2-5, §3-2-6, §3-2-7, §3-2-10, §3-2-18 and §3-2-30 of said code; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §3-2-6a, all relating generally to voter registration; permitting electronically transmitted signatures; permitting an electronic voter registration system; permitting certain persons to register up to and including the day of an election; extending the time for certain persons to register in person; requiring the Secretary of State to adopt certain procedures; establishing criminal penalties for any person who exerts improper influence over or intimidates another person regarding his or her right to register; and establishing criminal penalties for any person who copies certain information in the signed voter registration application of another person.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §3-2-24 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be repealed; that §3-2-5, §3-2-6, §3-2-7, §3-2-10, §3-2-18 and §3-2-30 of said code be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §3-2-6a, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 2. REGISTRATION OF VOTERS.

§3-2-5. Forms for application for registration; information required and requested; types of application forms; notices.

    (a) (1) All state forms for application for voter registration shall be prescribed by the Secretary of State and shall conform with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §1973gg, et seq., the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the requirements of the provisions of this article. Separate application forms may be prescribed for voter registration conducted by the clerk of the county commission, registration by mail, registration in conjunction with an application for motor vehicle driver's license and registration at designated agencies. These forms may consist of one or more parts, may be combined with other forms for use in registration by designated agencies or in conjunction with driver licensing and may be revised and reissued as required by the Secretary of State to provide for the efficient administration of voter registration.

    (2) Notwithstanding any provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection to the contrary, the federal postcard application for voter registration issued pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1973, et seq., the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986, and the mail voter registration application form prescribed by the Federal Election Commission pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1973gg, et seq., the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, shall be accepted as a valid form of application for registration pursuant to the provisions of this article.

    (b) Each application form for registration shall include:

    (1) A statement specifying the eligibility requirements for registration and an attestation that the applicant meets each eligibility requirement;

    (2) Any specific notice or notices required for a specific type or use of application by 42 U.S.C. §1973gg, et seq., the National Voter Registration Act of 1993;

    (3) A notice that a voter may be permitted to vote the partisan primary election ballot of a political party only if the voter has designated that political party on the application for registration unless the political party has determined otherwise;

    (4) The applicant's driver's license number or an identification number issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles. If the applicant does not have a driver's license or an identification card issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles, then the last four digits of the applicant's social security number; and

    (5) Any other instructions or information essential to complete the application process.

    (c) Each application form shall require that the following be provided by the applicant, under oath, and any application which does not contain each of the following shall be considered incomplete:

    (1) The applicant's legal name, including the first name, middle or maiden name, if any, and last name;

    (2) The month, day and year of the applicant's birth;

    (3) The applicant's residence address, including the number and street or route and city and county of residence except:

    (A) In the case of a person eligible to register under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. §1973ff, et seq., the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the address at which he or she last resided before leaving the United States or entering the uniformed services, or if a dependent child of such a person, the address at which his or her parent last resided; and

    (B) In the case of a homeless person having no fixed residence address who nevertheless resides and remains regularly within the county, the address of a shelter, assistance center or family member with whom he or she has regular contact or other specific location approved by the clerk of the county commission for the purposes of establishing a voting residence; and

    (4) The applicant's signature, under penalty of perjury as provided in section thirty-six of this article, to the attestation of eligibility to register to vote and to the truth of the information given: Provided, That the clerk may accept the electronically transmitted signature kept on file with another approved state database for any applicant who applies to register to vote using an approved electronic voter registration system, in accordance with procedures adopted by the Secretary of State.

    (d) The applicant shall be requested to provide the following information, but no application shall be rejected for lack of this information:

    (1) An indication whether the application is for a new registration, change of address, change of name or change of party affiliation;

    (2) The applicant's choice of political party affiliation, if any, or an indication of no affiliation: Provided, That any applicant who does not enter any choice of political party affiliation shall be listed as having no party affiliation on the voting record;

    (3) The applicant's residence mailing address if different than the residence street address;

    (4) The last four digits of the applicant's social security number;

    (5) The applicant's telephone number;

    (6) The address at which the applicant was last registered to vote, if any, for the purpose of canceling or transferring the previous registration; and

    (7) The applicant's gender.

    (e) The Secretary of State shall prescribe the printing specifications of each type of voter registration application and the voter registration application portion of any form which is part of a combined agency form.

    (f) Application forms prescribed in this section may refer to various public officials by title or official position, but in no case may the actual name of any officeholder be printed on the voter registration application or on any portion of a combined application form.

    (g) No later than July 1, of each odd-numbered year, the Secretary of State shall submit the specifications of the voter registration application by mail for statewide bidding for a contract period beginning September 1, of each odd-numbered year and continuing for two calendar years. The successful bidder shall produce and supply the required mail voter registration forms at the contract price to all purchasers of the form for the period of the contract.

§3-2-6. Time of registration application before an election.

    (a) Voter registration before an election shall close on the twenty-first day before the election, or on the first day thereafter which is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.

    (b) An application for voter registration, transfer of registration, change of name or change of political party affiliation submitted by an eligible voter by the close of voter registration shall be effective for any subsequent primary, general or special election if the following conditions are met:

    (1) The application contains the information required by subsection (c), section five of this article: Provided, That incomplete applications for registration containing information which are submitted within the required time may be corrected within four business days after the close of registration if the applicant provides the required information; and

    (2) The application is received by the appropriate clerk of the county commission no later than the hour of the close of registration or is otherwise submitted by the following deadlines:

    (A) If mailed, the application shall be addressed to the appropriate clerk of the county commission and is postmarked by the postal service no later than the date of the close of registration: Provided, That if the postmark is missing or illegible, the application shall be presumed to have been mailed no later than the close of registration if it is received by the appropriate clerk of the county commission no later than the third day following the close of registration;

    (B) If accepted by a designated agency or motor vehicle licensing office, the application is received by that agency or office no later than the close of registration;

    (C) If accepted through a registration outreach program, the application is received by the clerk, deputy clerk or registrar no later than the close of registration; and

    (D) If accepted through an approved electronic voter registration system, the application is received by the clerk, deputy clerk, registrar, or other entity designated by the Secretary of State no later than the close of registration; and

    (3) The verification notice by the provisions of section sixteen of this article mailed to the voter at the residence indicated on the application is not returned as undeliverable.

§3-2-6a. Extended time for certain persons to register in person.

    (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of section six, article two of this chapter, the following persons shall be entitled to register in person at the office of the clerk of the county commission up to and including the day of the election:

    (1) Any member of a uniformed service of the United States, as defined in 42 U.S.C. §1973ff-6(7), who is on active duty;

    (2) Any member of the Merchant Marine of the United States; (3) Any person who resides temporarily outside of the United States; and

    (4) The spouse or any dependent residing with a person listed in subdivision (1), (2) or (3) of this subsection.

    This subsection applies only to those persons who are otherwise qualified to register and who, by reason of such active duty or temporary overseas residency, are normally absent from the county in which they reside or have been absent from that county and returned to reside there during the twenty-one days immediately preceding the election.

    (b) Any person who was on active duty as a member of a uniformed service of the United States, as defined in 42 U.S.C. §1973ff-6(7), and discharged from that service during the sixty days immediately preceding the election, and the member’s spouse or dependent, shall be entitled to register, if otherwise qualified, in person up to and including the day of the election.

    (c) The Secretary of State shall adopt procedures for the addition of persons registered under this section to the lists of registered voters.

§3-2-7. Hours and days of registration in the office of the clerk of the county commission; in-person application for voter registration; identification required.

    (a) The clerk of the county commission shall provide voter registration services at all times when the office of the clerk is open for regular business.

    (b) Any eligible voter who desires to apply for voter registration in person at the office of the clerk of the county commission shall complete a voter registration application on the prescribed form and shall sign the oath required on that application in the presence of the clerk of the county commission or his or her deputy: Provided, That a voter may apply for voter registration using an approved electronic voter registration system available at the office of the clerk in participating localities. The system may electronically transfer the voter’s signature stored in the database of another state agency in accordance with procedures adopted by the Secretary of State. The applicant shall present valid identification and proof of age, except that the clerk may waive the proof of age requirement if the applicant is clearly over the age of eighteen.

    (c) The clerk shall attempt to establish whether the residence address given is within the boundaries of an incorporated municipality and, if so, make the proper entry required for municipal residents to be properly identified for municipal voter registration purposes.

    (d) Upon receipt of the completed registration application, the clerk shall either:

    (1) Provide a notice of procedure for verification and notice of disposition of the application and immediately begin the verification process prescribed by the provisions of section sixteen of this article; or

    (2) Upon presentation of a current driver's license or state-issued identification card containing the residence address as it appears on the voter registration application, issue the receipt of registration.

§3-2-10. Application for registration by mail.

    (a) Any qualified person may apply to register, change, transfer or correct his or her voter registration by mail. Application shall be made on a prescribed form as provided by section five of this article.

    (b) To the extent possible, with funds allocated annually for such purpose, the Secretary of State shall make state mail registration forms available for distribution through governmental and private entities and organized voter registration programs. The Secretary of State shall make a record of all requests by entities or organizations for two hundred or more forms with a description of the dates and locations in which the proposed registration drive is to be conducted. The Secretary of State shall also require the entity or organization requesting the forms to provide contact information on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State may limit the distribution to a reasonable amount per group.

    (c) The clerk of the county commission shall provide up to four mail registration forms to any resident of the county upon request. To the extent possible with funds allocated annually for the purpose, the clerk of the county commission shall make state mail registration forms available for distribution through organized voter registration programs within the county. The clerk of the county commission shall make a record of all requests by entities or organizations for ten or more forms with a description of the dates and locations in which the proposed registration drive is to be conducted. The clerk may limit the distribution to a reasonable amount per group.

    (d) The applicant shall provide all required information and, only after completing the information, sign the prescribed applicant's oath under penalty of perjury as provided in section thirty-six of this article. No person may alter or add any entry or make any mark which would alter any material information on the voter registration application after the applicant has signed the oath: Provided, That the clerk of the county commission may correct any entry upon the request of the applicant provided the request is properly documented and the correction is dated and initialed by the clerk.

    (e) Completed applications shall be mailed or delivered to the clerk of the county commission of the county in which the voter resides. If a clerk receives a completed mail application form from a voter whose residence address is located in another county, the clerk shall forward that application within three days to the clerk of the county commission of the county of the applicant's residence.

    (f) Upon receipt of the application for registration by the appropriate clerk of the county commission, the clerk shall:

    (1) Attempt to establish whether the residence address given is within the boundaries of an incorporated municipality and, if so, make the proper entry required for municipal residents to be properly identified for municipal voter registration purposes; and

    (2) Immediately begin the verification process required by the provisions of section sixteen of this article.

    (g) Any person who registers by mail pursuant to this section and who has not previously voted in an election in the state shall be required to present the following forms of identification to the Secretary of State or clerk of the county commission:

    (1) In the case of an individual who votes in person, a current and valid photo identification; or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter;

    (2) In the case of an individual who votes by mail, a copy of a current and valid photo identification or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter, submitted with the ballot.

    (h) An individual who desires to vote in person or by mail, but who does not meet the requirements of subsection (g) of this section, may cast a provisional ballot.

    (i) Subsection (g) of this section does not apply in the case of a person:

    (1) Who registers to vote by mail under 42 U.S.C. §1973gg–4, et seq., and submits as part of his or her registration either a copy of a current and valid photo identification or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document that shows the name and address of the voter;

    (2) (A) Who registers to vote by mail under 42 U.S.C. §1973gg-4, et seq., and submits with his or her registration either a driver’s license number or at least the last four digits of the individual’s social security number; and (B) with respect to whom the Secretary of State or clerk of the county commission matches the information submitted under paragraph (A) of this subdivision with an existing state identification record bearing the same number, name and date of birth as provided in the registration; or

    (3) Who is: (A) Entitled to vote by absentee ballot under 42 U.S.C. §1973ff-1, et seq., the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act; (B) provided the right to vote otherwise than in person under 42 U.S.C. §1973ee-1(b)(2)(B)(ii); or 25 (iii), section 3(b)(2)(B)(ii) of the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act; (C) entitled to vote otherwise than in person under any other federal law: Provided, That any person who has applied for an absentee ballot pursuant to the provisions of subdivision (1), subsection (b), section one, article three of this chapter; paragraph (B), subdivision (2) of said subsection; subdivision (3) of said subsection; or subsection (c) of said section may not have his or her ballot in that election challenged for failure to appear in person or for failure to present identification.

    (j) Any person who submits a state mail voter registration application to the clerk of the county commission in the county in which he or she is currently registered for the purpose of entering a change of address within the county, making a change of party affiliation or recording a change of legal name shall not be required to make his or her first vote in person or to present identification or proof of age.

    (k) On and after July 1, 2006, any person who agrees to mail or to deliver a signed voter registration application to the Secretary of State or the clerk of the county commission and who intentionally interferes with the applicant’s effort to register either by destroying the application or by failing to mail or to deliver the application in a timely manner is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $1,000, or confined in a jail for not more than one year, or both. For purposes of this subsection, the mailing or delivery of an application is timely if it is mailed or delivered within fifteen days after the applicant signs the application or in accordance with the provisions of article two, chapter three of this code for processing before the closing of the registration records for the pending election, whichever comes first.

    (l) On or after July 1, 2006, any person who intentionally solicits multiple registrations from any one person or who intentionally falsifies a registration application is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $1,000, or confined in jail for not more than one year, or both.

    (m) Any person who mails or delivers a signed voter registration application to the Secretary of State or to the clerk of the county commission and exerts improper influence on the choice of party affiliation of an applicant or otherwise attempts to improperly interfere with or intimidate an applicant relating to that applicant’s decision to register or not to register is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than $1,000, or confined in jail for not more than one year, or both fined and confined.

    (n) Any person who mails or delivers a signed voter registration application to the Secretary of State or to the clerk of the county commission and copies or causes to be copied, manually or electronically, any information contained within the registration document other than the name of the applicant and the date of the applicants’s signature is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than $1,000, or confined in jail for not more than one year, or both fined and confined.

§3-2-18. Registration records; active, inactive, canceled, pending and rejected registration files; procedure; voting records.

    (a) For the purposes of this article:

    (1) "Original voter registration record" means all records submitted or entered in writing or electronically, where permitted by law, for voter registration purposes, including:

    (A) Any original application or notice submitted by any person for registration or reinstatement, change of address, change of name, change of party affiliation, correction of records, cancellation, confirmation of voter information or other request or notice for voter registration purposes; and

    (B) Any original entry made on any voter's registration record at the polling place, or made or received by the clerk of the county commission relating to any voter's registration, such as records of voting, presentation of identification and proof of age, challenge of registration, notice of death or obituary notice, notice of disqualifying conviction or ruling of mental incompetence or other original document which may affect the status of any person's voter registration.

    (2) "Active voter registration files" means the files of registration records, whether maintained on paper forms or in digitized data format, containing the names, addresses, birth dates and other required information for all persons within a county who are registered to vote and whose registration has not been designated as "inactive" or "canceled" pursuant to the provisions of this article.

    (3) "Inactive voter registration files" means the files of registration records, whether maintained on paper forms or in digitized data format, containing the names, addresses, birth dates and other required information for all persons designated "inactive" pursuant to the provisions of section twenty-seven of this article following the return of the prescribed notices as undeliverable at the address entered on the voter registration. For the purposes of this chapter or of any other provisions of this code relating to elections conducted under the provisions of this chapter, whenever a requirement is based on the number of registered voters, including, but not limited to, the number of ballots to be printed, the limitations on the size of a precinct, or the number of petition signatures required for election purposes, only those registrations included on the active voter registration files shall be counted and voter registrations included on the inactive voter registration files, as defined in this subdivision, shall not be counted.

    (4) "Canceled voter registration files" means the files containing all required information for all persons who have been removed from the active and inactive voter registration files and who are no longer registered to vote within the county.

    (5) "Pending application files" means the temporary files containing all information submitted on a voter registration application, pending the expiration of the verification period.

    (6) "Rejected application files" means the files containing all information submitted on a voter registration application which was rejected for reasons as described in this article.

    (b) Active voter registration files and inactive voter registration files may be maintained in the same physical location or database, providing the records are coded, marked or arranged in such a way as to make the status of the registration immediately obvious. Canceled voter registration files, pending application files, and rejected application files shall each be maintained in separate physical locations or databases.

    (c) The effective date of any action affecting any voter's registration status shall be entered on the voter record in the appropriate file, including the effective date of registration, change of name, address or party affiliation or correction of the record, effective date of transfer to inactive status, return to active status or cancellation. When any registration is designated inactive or is canceled, the reason for the designation or cancellation and any reference notation necessary to locate the original documentation related to the change shall be entered on the voter record.

    (d) Within one hundred twenty days after each primary, general, municipal or special election, the clerk of the county commission shall, as evidenced by the presence or absence of signatures on the pollbooks for such election, correct any errors or omissions on the voter registration records resulting from the poll clerks erroneously checking or failing to check the registration records as required by the provisions of section thirty-four, article one of this chapter, or shall enter the voting records into the state uniform data system if the precinct books have been replaced with printed registration books as provided in section twenty-one of this article.

§3-2-30. Public inspection of voter registration records in the office of the clerk of the county commission; providing voter lists for noncommercial use; prohibition against resale of voter lists for commercial use or profit.

    (a) Any person may examine the active, inactive, rejected and canceled voter registration records during office hours of the clerk of the county commission in accordance with the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-b of this code as follows:

    (1) When the active and inactive files are maintained on precinct registration books, any person may examine the files under the supervision of the clerk and obtain copies of records except when a precinct book is in temporary use for updating and preparing lists or during the time the books are sealed for use in an election. Other original voter registration records, including canceled voter records, pending applications, rejected applications, records of change requests, reinstatements and other documents, shall be available for inspection upon specific request; and

    (2) When the active, inactive, rejected and canceled voter files are maintained in data format, any person may examine voter record information in printed form or in a read-only data format on a computer terminal set aside for public use, if available. The data files available for examination and copying shall include all registration and voting information maintained in the file, but may not include the registrant’s telephone number, social security number or driver’s license number or nonoperator’s identification number issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles.

    (b) Printed lists of registered voters may be purchased for noncommercial use from the clerk of the county commission at a cost of one cent per name.

    (c) In counties maintaining active and inactive files in digitized data format, the clerk of the county commission shall, upon request, prepare printed copies of the lists of voters for each precinct. No list prepared under this section may include the registrant’s telephone number, social security number or driver’s license number or nonoperator’s identification number issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles. The clerk shall establish a written policy, posted within public view, listing the options for selection and sorting criteria and available data elements. The data elements shall include, at least:

    (1) The name, residence address, political party affiliation and status of the registrant;

    (2) The available formats of the lists; and

    (3) The times at which lists will be prepared. A copy of the county policy shall be filed with the Secretary of State no later than January 1, of each even-numbered year.

    (d) In counties which maintain voter files in a digitized data format, lists of registered voters may be obtained for noncommercial purposes in data format on disk provided and prepared by the clerk of the county commission at a cost of one cent per name plus $10 for each disk required. No data file prepared under this subsection may include the registrant’s telephone number, social security number or driver’s license number or nonoperator’s identification number issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles.

    (e) The fees received by the clerk of the county commission shall be kept in a separate fund under the supervision of the clerk for the purpose of defraying the cost of the preparation of the voter lists. Any unexpended balance in the fund shall be transferred to the general fund of the county commission.

    (f) The Secretary of State may make voter lists available for sale subject to the limitations as provided in this section for counties. The cost for a partial list shall be one and one-half cents per name plus $10 for each disk required; the cost for a complete statewide list shall be one-half cent per name and a flat fee of $1,000. One cent per name for each voter from a particular county on each partial list and one-half cent per name for each voter from a particular county on each statewide list sold shall be reimbursed to the appropriate county. The disk fee and one-half cent per name associated with a partial list and the flat fee of $1,000 associated with a complete statewide list shall be deposited to a special revenue account for purpose of defraying the cost of preparing the lists.

    (g) An update to a previously purchased list may be provided by the Secretary of State or the clerk of the county commission at a prorated cost based on the amount of additional information provided. The additional rates charged by the clerk of the county commission shall be specified in the policy established pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

    (h) No voter registration lists or data files containing voter names, addresses or other information derived from voter data files obtained pursuant to the provisions of this article may be used for commercial or charitable solicitations or advertising, sold or reproduced for resale.

    (i) This section shall not be interpreted to prevent the Secretary of State from sharing data files containing voter information with authorized service providers for the purpose of voter registration and election administration in accordance with this chapter or applicable federal law.

 

    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to permit electronically transmitted voter signatures and an electronic voter registration system. The bill permits certain persons to register up to and including the day of an election and extends the time for certain persons to register in person. The bill requires the Secretary of State to adopt certain procedures. The bill also establishes criminal penalties for any person who exerts improper influence over or intimidate another person regarding his or her right to register. The bill further establishes criminal penalties for any person who copies certain information in the signed voter registration application of another person.

 

    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

 

    §3-2-6a is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.

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