Senate Bill No. 603

(By Senators Wooton, Ball, Bowman, Dittmar, Hunter, Kessler, Ross, Schoonover, Snyder, White and Deem)


[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary;

reported February 18, 1998.]


A BILL to amend and reenact section two-a, article three, chapter three of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to eliminating the prohibition on electioneering within three hundred feet of the office of the circuit clerk during the absentee voting period.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section two-a, article three, chapter three of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
§3-3-2a. Voting booths within public view to be provided by clerk; prohibition against display of campaign material.

Throughout the period of absentee voting in person in the clerk's office as provided in this article, the circuit clerk shall make the following provisions for voting:
(a) The clerk shall provide a sufficient number of voting booths or devices appropriate to the voting system at which voters may prepare their ballots. The booths or devices shall be in an area separate from but within clear view of the public entrance area of the clerk's office, and shall be arranged to ensure the voter complete privacy in casting the ballot.
(b) The clerk shall make the voting area secure from interference with the voter and shall ensure that voted and unvoted ballots are at all times secure from tampering. No person, other than a person lawfully assisting the voter according to the provisions of this chapter, may be permitted to come within five feet of the voting booth while the voter is voting. No person, other than the clerk or deputy clerks or members of the board of ballot commissioners assigned to conduct absentee voting, shall enter the area or room set aside for voting.
(c) When the voting area of the office of the clerk is not fully accessible to voters with physical disabilities, the clerk shall request the county commission to designate an accessible room within the same building as a portion of the clerk's office for the purpose of absentee voting only by persons unable to use the regular area. The area shall be subject to the same requirements as the regular voting area.
(d) No person may do any electioneering, nor may any person display or distribute in any manner, or authorize the display or distribution of, any literature, posters or material of any kind which tends to influence the voting for or against any candidate or any public question within the whole area of the clerk's office or within three hundred feet thereof during the entire period of absentee voting. The clerk is hereby authorized to remove such material and to direct the sheriff of the county to enforce the prohibition.