H. B. 4031
(By Delegates Doyle and Manuel)
[Introduced January 20, 1998; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section thirteen, article five,
chapter three of the code of West Virginia, one thousand
nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to the form
and contents of ballots and ballot labels, and requiring
that the office of county commissioner be listed by
magisterial district to be filled in certain counties.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section thirteen, article five, chapter three of the
code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 5. PRIMARY ELECTIONS AND NOMINATING PROCEDURES.
§3-5-13. Form and contents of ballots and ballot labels.
The face of every primary election ballot shall conform as
nearly as practicable to that used at the general election.
(a) The heading of every ballot shall be printed in display
type. The heading shall contain a ballot title, the name of the
county, the state, the words "Primary Election" and the month,
day and year of the election. The ballot title of the political party ballots shall contain the words "Official Ballot of the
(Name) Party" and the official symbol of the political party may
be included in the heading. The ballot title of any separate
paper ballot or portion of any electronic or voting machine
ballot for the board of education shall contain the words
"Nonpartisan Ballot of Election of Members of the ______________
County Board of Education". The districts for which less than
two candidates may be elected and the number of available seats
shall be specified and the names of the candidates shall be
printed without reference to political party affiliation, and
without designation as to a particular term of office. Any other
ballot or portion of a ballot on a question shall have a heading
which clearly states the purpose of the election, according to
the statutory requirements for that question.
(b) (1) For paper ballots, the heading of the ballot shall
be separated from the rest of the ballot by heavy lines, and the
offices shall be arranged in columns with the following headings,
from left to right across the ballot: "National Ticket", "State
Ticket", "County Ticket", and, in a presidential election year,
"National Convention", or, in a nonpresidential election year
"District Ticket". The columns shall be separated by heavy
lines. Within the columns, the offices shall be arranged in the
order prescribed in section thirteen-a of this article.
(2) For voting machines, electronic voting devices, and any
ballot tabulated by electronic means, the offices shall appear in
the same sequence as prescribed in section thirteen-a, and under
the same headings as prescribed in subsection (a) of this section. The number of pages, columns or rows, where applicable,
may be modified to meet the limitations of ballot size and
composition requirements, subject to approval by the secretary of
(3) The title of each office shall be separated from
preceding offices or candidates by a line, and shall be printed
in bold type, no smaller than eight point. Below the office
shall be printed the number of the district, if any, the number
of the division, if any, and the words "Vote for ________" with
the number to be nominated or elected or "Vote For Not More Than
________" in multi-candidate elections. For offices in which
there are limitations relating to the number of candidates which
may be nominated, elected or appointed to or hold office at one
time from a political subdivision within the district or county
in which they are elected, there shall be a clear explanation of
such limitation, as prescribed by the secretary of state, printed
in bold type immediately preceding the names of the candidates
for those offices on the ballot in every voting system.
counties in which the number of county commissioners exceeds
three and the total number of members of the county commission is
equal to the number of magisterial districts within the county,
the office of county commission shall be listed separately for
each district to be filled, with the name of the magisterial
district and the words "Vote for One" printed below the name of
(c) The location for indicating the voter's choices on the
ballot shall be clearly shown. For paper ballots, other than those tabulated electronically, the official primary ballot shall
contain a square formed in dark lines at the left of each name on
the ballot, arranged in a perpendicular column of squares before
each column of names.
(d) (1) The name of every candidate certified by the
secretary of state or the board of ballot commissioners shall be
printed in capital letters in no smaller than eight point type on
the ballot for the appropriate precincts. Subject to the rules
promulgated by the secretary of state, the name of each candidate
shall appear in the form set out by the candidate on the
certificate of announcement, but in no case
shall may the name
misrepresent the identity of the candidate, nor shall may
name include any title, position, rank, degree or nickname
implying or inferring any status as a member of a class or group
or affiliation with any system of belief.
(2) The city of residence of every candidate, the state of
residence of every candidate residing outside the state, the
county of residence of every candidate for an office on the
ballot in more than one county, and the magisterial district of
residence of every candidate for an office subject to magisterial
district limitations, shall be printed in lower case letters
beneath the names of the candidates.
(3) The arrangement of names within each office shall be
determined as prescribed in section thirteen-a of this article.
(4) If the number of candidates for an office exceeds the
space available on a column or ballot label page and requires
that candidates for a single office be separated, to the extent possible, the number of candidates for the office on separate
columns or pages shall be nearly equal, and clear instructions
given the voter that the candidates for the office are continued
on the following column or page.
(e) When an insufficient number of candidates has filed for
a party to make the number of nominations allowed for the office,
or for the voters to elect sufficient members to the board of
education or to executive committees, the vacant positions on the
ballot shall be filled with the words "No Candidate Filed":
Provided, That in paper ballot systems which allow for write-ins
to be made directly on the ballot, a blank line shall be placed
in any vacant position in the office of board of education or for
election to any party executive committee. A line shall separate
each candidate from every other candidate for the same office.
(f) In presidential election years, the words "For election
in accordance with the plan adopted by the party and filed with
the secretary of state" shall be printed following the names of
all candidates for delegate to national convention.
(g) All paper ballots shall be printed in black ink on paper
sufficiently thick so that the printing or marking cannot be
discernible from the back. Ballot cards and paper for printing
ballots using electronically sensible ink shall meet minimum
requirements of the tabulating systems.
(h) Electronically tabulated ballots and ballot cards shall
contain perforated tabs at the top of the ballots and shall be
printed with unique sequential numbers from one to the highest
number representing the total number of ballots or ballot cards printed. On paper ballots, the ballot shall be bordered by a
solid line at least one sixteenth of an inch wide, and the ballot
shall be trimmed to within one-half inch of that border.
(i) On the back of every official ballot or ballot card,
there shall be printed the words "Official Ballot" with the name
of the county and the date of the election. Beneath shall be two
blank lines, followed by the words "Poll Clerks".
(j) Absent voters' ballots shall be in all respects like
other official ballots, except that three blank lines shall be
printed on the back of the ballot or ballot card in the lower
left corner with the words "Ballot Commissioners" printed
(k) The face of sample paper ballots and sample ballot
labels shall be like other official ballots or ballot labels,
except that the word "sample" shall be prominently printed across
the front of the ballot in such a way that the names of
candidates are not obscured, and the word "sample" may be printed
in red ink. No printing
shall may be placed on the back of the
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require, in counties
where the number of county commissioners exceeds three and the
total number of members of the county commission is equal to the
number of magisterial districts within the county, that ballots
list, by magisterial district, each office of county commissioner
to be filled.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.