WEST virginia legislature
2020 regular session
House Bill 4593
By Delegate Higginbotham
[Introduced January 29, 2020; Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary]
A BILL to amend and reenact §3-1-30 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to authorizing the assignment of poll workers to serve more than one precinct when those precinct polling places are located in the same building or facility.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS.
§3-1-30. Nomination and appointment of election officials and alternates; notice of appointment; appointment to fill vacancies in election boards.
(a) For any primary, general or special election held throughout a county, poll clerks and election commissioners may be nominated as follows:
(1) The county executive committee for each of the two major political parties may, by a majority vote of the committee at a duly called meeting, nominate one qualified person for each team of poll clerks and one qualified person for each team of election commissioners to be appointed for the election;
(2) The appointing body shall select one qualified person as the additional election commissioner for each board of election officials;
(3) Each county executive committee shall also nominate qualified persons as alternates for at least 10 percent of the poll clerks and election commissioners to be appointed in the county and is authorized to nominate as many qualified persons as alternates as there are precincts in the county to be called upon to serve in the event any of the persons originally appointed fail to accept appointment or fail to appear for the required training or for the preparation or execution of their duties;
(4) When an executive
committee nominates qualified persons as poll clerks, election commissioners or
alternates, the committee, or its
chairman chair or secretary on
its behalf, shall file in writing with the appointing body, no later than the 70th
day before the election, a list of those persons nominated and the positions
for which they are designated.
(b) For any municipal primary, general or special election, the poll clerks and election commissioners may be nominated as follows:
(1) In municipalities which have municipal executive committees for the two major political parties in the municipality, each committee may nominate election officials in the manner provided for the nomination of election officials by county executive committees in subsection (a) of this section;
(2) In municipalities which do not have executive committees, the governing body shall provide by ordinance for a method of nominating election officials or shall nominate as many eligible persons as are required, giving due consideration to any recommendations made by voters of the municipality or by candidates on the ballot.
(c) The governing body responsible for appointing election officials is:
(1) The county commission for any primary, general or special election ordered by the county commission and any joint county and municipal election;
(2) The board of education for any special election ordered by the board of education conducted apart from any other election;
(3) The municipal governing body for any primary, general or special municipal election ordered by the governing body.
(d) The qualifications for persons nominated to serve as election officials may be confirmed prior to appointment by the clerk of the county commission for any election ordered by the county commission or for any joint county and municipal election and by the official recorder of the municipality for a municipal election.
(e) The appropriate governing body shall appoint the election officials for each designated election board no later than the 49th day before the election as follows:
(1) Those eligible persons whose nominations for poll clerk and election commissioner were timely filed by the executive committees and those additional persons selected to serve as an election commissioner are to be appointed;
(2) The governing body shall fill any positions for which no nominations were filed.
(f) At the same time as the appointment of election officials or at a subsequent meeting the governing body shall appoint persons as alternates. However, no alternate may be eligible for compensation for election training unless the alternate is subsequently appointed as an election official or is instructed to attend and actually attends training as an alternate and is available to serve on election day. Alternates shall be appointed and serve as follows:
(1) Those alternates nominated by the executive committees shall be appointed;
(2) The governing body may appoint additional alternates who may be called upon to fill vacancies after all alternates designated by the executive committees have been assigned, have declined to serve or have failed to attend training; and
(3) The governing body may determine the number of persons who may be instructed to attend training as alternates.
(g) The clerk of the county commission shall appoint qualified persons to fill all vacancies existing after all previously appointed alternates have been assigned, have declined to serve or have failed to attend training.
(h) Within seven days following appointment, the clerk of the county commission shall notify, by first-class mail, all election commissioners, poll clerks and alternates of the fact of their appointment and include with the notice a response notice form for the appointed person to return indicating whether or not he or she agrees to serve in the specified capacity in the election.
(i) The position of any person notified of appointment who fails to return the response notice or otherwise confirm to the clerk of the county commission his or her agreement to serve within 14 days following the date of appointment is considered vacant and the clerk shall proceed to fill the vacancies according to the provisions of this section.
(j) If the governing body and the clerk of the county commission are unable to nominate a sufficient number of qualified persons agreeing to serve on a standard receiving board for each precinct, the clerk may assign members of one precinct’s standard receiving board to serve simultaneously on the standard receiving board of another precinct where the polling places of both precincts are located within the same physical building or facility: Provided, That no more than three precincts within the same building or facility may share board members in this manner.
(j) (k) If an appointed election official fails to
appear at the polling place by 45 minutes past five o'clock a.m. on election
day, the election officials present shall contact the office of the clerk of
the county commission for assistance in filling the vacancy. The clerk shall
proceed as follows:
(1) The clerk may attempt to contact the person originally appointed, may assign an alternate nominated by the same political party as the person absent if one is available or, if no alternate is available, may appoint another eligible person;
(2) If the election officials present are unable to contact the clerk within a reasonable time, they shall diligently attempt to fill the position with an eligible person of the same political party as the party that nominated the person absent until a qualified person has agreed to serve;
(3) If two teams of election officials, as defined in §3-1-29 of this code, are present at the polling place, the person appointed to fill a vacancy in the position of the additional commissioner may be of either political party.
(k) (l) In a municipal election, the recorder or
other official designated by charter or ordinance to perform election
responsibilities shall perform the duties of the clerk of the county commission
as provided in this section.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide greater flexibility in the assignment of poll workers by allowing poll workers to serve up to three precincts when those precinct polling places are located within the same building.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.