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§3-2-17. Denial of registration application; notice; appeal to clerk of the county commission, decision; appeal to county commission, hearing, decision; appeal to circuit court.

(a) If the clerk of the county commission finds that any of the following is true, based on the application or official documentation of ineligibility, the clerk shall deny the application for voter registration:

(1) The applicant, at the time the application is received, is not eligible to register in the county and state pursuant to the provisions of section two of this article;

(2) The applicant has submitted an application which is incomplete, pursuant to the provisions of subsection (c), section five of this article; or

(3) The verification notice as required in section sixteen of this article is returned as undeliverable at the address given by the voter.

(b) When the clerk of the county commission determines that the application must be denied, the clerk shall send, by first class forwardable return requested mail, a notice that the application for registration was denied and the reasons therefor.

(1) If the reason for denial is an incomplete application, the clerk shall inform the voter of the right to reapply and shall enclose a mail voter registration form for the purpose.

(2) If the reason for denial is return of the verification notice as undeliverable at the address given, the clerk shall inform the voter of the right to present proof of residence in order to validate the registration.

(3) If the reason for denial is ineligibility, the notice shall include a statement of eligibility requirements for voter registration and of the applicant's right to appeal the denial.

(c) An applicant whose application for registration is denied by the clerk of the county commission because of ineligibility or for failure to submit proof of residence may make a written request for a reconsideration by the clerk, and may present information relating to his or her eligibility. The clerk shall review the request for consideration and shall issue a decision in writing within fourteen days of the receipt of the request.

(d) If the application is denied upon reconsideration pursuant to the provisions of subsection (c) of this section, the applicant may make a written request for a hearing before the county commission. The county commission shall schedule and conduct the hearing within thirty days of receipt of the request and shall issue a decision, in writing, within fifteen days of the hearing.

(e) An applicant may appeal the decision of the county commission to the circuit court. The circuit court shall only consider the record before the county commission, as authenticated by the clerk of the county commission. The circuit court may affirm the order of the county commission, whether the order be affirmative or negative; but if it deems such order not to be reasonably justified by the evidence considered, it may reverse such orders of the county commission in whole or in part as it deems just and right; and if it deems the evidence considered by the county commission in reaching its decision insufficient, it may remand the proceedings to the county commission for further hearing. Any such order or orders of the circuit court shall be certified to the county commission.

(f) Any party to such appeal may, within thirty days after the date of a final order by the circuit court, apply for an appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeals which may grant or refuse such appeal at its discretion. The Supreme Court of Appeals shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine the appeal upon the record before the circuit court and to enter such order as it may find that the circuit court should have entered.

(g) It shall be the duty of the circuit court and the Supreme Court of Appeals, in order to expedite registration and election procedures, to hold such sessions as may be necessary to determine any cases involving the registration of voters. Judges of the circuit court and the Supreme Court of Appeals in vacation shall have the same power as that prescribed in this section for their respective courts.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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