§3-8-1. Provisions to regulate and control elections.
(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) West Virginia's population is 1,808,344, ranking 37th
among the fifty states.
(2) State Senate districts have a population of approximately
one hundred six thousand three hundred seventy-three, and the
average Delegate district has a population of approximately
thirty-one thousand, one hundred seventy-eight. The size of these
districts is substantially smaller than the United States
Senatorial and Congressional Districts.
(3) When the relatively small size of the State's legislative
and other voting districts is combined with the economics and
typical uses of various forms of electioneering communication,
history shows that non-broadcast media is and will continue to be
a widely used means of making campaign related communications to
target relevant audiences. Consequently, non-broadcast
communications are prevalent during elections.
(4) Disclosure provisions are appropriate legislative weapons
against the reality or appearance of improper influence stemming
from the dependence of candidates on large campaign contributions,
and the ceilings imposed accordingly serve the basic governmental
interest in safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process
without directly impinging upon the rights of individual citizens
and candidates to engage in political debate and discussion.
(5) Disclosure of expenditures serve a substantial governmental interest in informing the electorate and preventing
the corruption of the political process.
(6) Disclosure by persons and entities that make expenditures
for communications that expressly advocate the election or defeat
of clearly identified candidates, or perform its functional
equivalent, is a reasonable and minimally restrictive method of
furthering First Amendment values by public exposure of the state
(7) Failing to regulate non-broadcast media messages would
permit those desiring to influence elections to avoid the
principles and policies that are embodied in existing state law.
(8) The regulation of the various types of non-broadcast media
in addition to broadcast media, is tailored to meet the
circumstances found in the State of West Virginia.
(9) Non-broadcast media such as newspapers, magazines or other
periodicals have proven to be effective means of election
communication in West Virginia. Broadcast, satellite and
non-broadcast media have all been used to influence election
(10) Certain non-broadcast communications, such as newspaper
inserts, can be more effective campaign methods than broadcast
media because such communications can be targeted to registered
voters or historical voters in the particular district. In
contrast, broadcasted messages reach all of the general public,
including person ineligible to vote in the district.
(11) Non-broadcast media communications in the final days of
a campaign can be particularly damaging to the public's confidence
in the election process because they reduce or make impossible an
(12) Identifying those funding non-broadcast media campaigns
in the final days of a campaign may at least permit voters to
evaluate the credibility of the message.
(13) In West Virginia, contributions up to the amounts
specified in this article allow contributors to express their
opinions, level of support and their affiliations.
(14) In West Virginia, campaign expenditures by entities and
persons who are not candidates have been increasing. Public
confidence is eroded when substantial amounts of such money, the
source of which is hidden or disguised, is expended. This is
particularly true during the final days of a campaign.
(15) In West Virginia, contributions to political
organizations, defined in Section 527(e)(1) of the Internal Revenue
Code of 1986, substantially larger than the amounts permitted to be
received by a candidate's political committee have been recorded
and are considered by the legislature to be large contributions.
(16) Independent expenditures intended to influence
candidates' campaigns in the state are increasingly utilizing
non-broadcast media to support or defeat candidates.
(17) Identification of persons or entities funding political
advertisements assists in enforcement of the contribution and expenditure limitations established by this article and simply
informs voters of the actual identities of persons or entities
advocating the election or defeat of candidates.
(18) Identification of persons or entities funding political
advertisements allows voters to evaluate the credibility of the
message contained in the advertisement.
(19) Disclosure of the identity of persons or entities funding
political communications regarding candidates bolsters the right of
listeners to be fully informed.
(b) Political campaign contributions, receipts and
expenditures of money, advertising, influence and control of
employees, and other economic, political and social control factors
incident to primary, special and general elections shall be
regulated and controlled by the provisions of this article and
other applicable provisions of this chapter.