Ballot access requirements for political candidates in West Virginia

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See also
This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of West Virginia. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in West Virginia. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included. This page reflects research completed in April 2014.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific dates

2014

See also: West Virginia elections, 2014

West Virginia will have a primary election on May 13, 2014 and a general election on November 4, 2014. Voters will elect candidates to serve in the following state and federal offices:

The 2014 filing deadline for partisan candidates seeking to participate in the state primary was January 25, 2014.[1] The deadline for independent candidates and nominees of unqualified parties seeking to participate in the November general election to file a nominating petition is August 1, 2014.[2] To become a recognized minor party in West Virginia, the party label of a candidate must achieve 1% of the vote for governor in a general election to become an officially recognized political party in the state.[3]

Legend:      Ballot Access     Campaign Finance     Election Date




Dates and Requirements for Candidates in 2014
Deadline Event Type Event Description
January 25, 2014 Ballot Access Filing deadline for partisan candidates participating in the May primary
February 4, 2014 Campaign Finance Deadline for partisan candidates to file Candidate Financial Disclosure Statement (within ten days after filing a Certificate of Announcement)
April 4, 2014 Campaign Finance 2014 Annual/Primary-First campaign finance report due
May 2, 2014 Campaign Finance Pre-Primary campaign finance report due
May 13, 2014 Election Date State Primary Date
June 23, 2014 Campaign Finance Post-primary campaign finance report due for candidates who ran in the primary election
August 1, 2014 Ballot Access Deadline for independent candidates and nominees of unqualified parties to file petitions to participate in the November general election
September 16, 2014 Ballot Access Filing deadline for write-in candidates running in the general election
September 26, 2014 Campaign Finance First general election campaign finance report due
October 24, 2014 Campaign Finance Pre-general election campaign finance report due
November 4, 2014 Election Date General election
December 15, 2014 Campaign Finance Post-general election campaign finance report due

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of October 2013, the state of West Virginia officially recognizes four political parties. In order to be recognized by the state, a political party must fulfill certain requirements, which are outlined below in "Process to establish a political party."

Party Website link By-laws/Platform link
Republican Party Official party website Party by-laws
Democratic Party Official party website Party platform
Libertarian Party Official party website Party by-laws
Mountain Party Official party website Party by-laws

In some states, a candidate may choose to have a label other than that of an officially recognized party appear alongside his or her name on the ballot. Such labels are called political party designations. A political party designation would be used when a candidate qualifies as an independent, but prefers to use a different label. West Virginia[4][5] does allow candidates to identify in this way. A total of 25 states allow candidates to use political party designations in non-presidential elections.{{{Reference}}}

The 11 states listed below (and Washington, D.C.) do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, in these states, an aspirant party must first field candidates using party designations. If the candidate or candidates win the requisite votes, the organization may then be recognized as an official political party. In these states, a political party can be formed only if the candidate in the general election obtains a specific number of votes. The number of votes required and type of race vary from state to state. Details can be found on the state-specific requirements pages.[6]

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 3 of the West Virginia Code (dead link)

In West Virginia, a political party is any affiliation of voters representing any principle or organization which, at the last preceding general election, polled for its candidate for governor at least one percent of the total number of votes cast for all candidates for that office in the state.[7]

  • The state allows independent candidates to select a political designation apart from those recognized by the state. A brief name of the party which the candidate represents must not be longer than five words and must be specified on the candidate's nominating petition form.[8][9]
  • If an independent candidate for Governor in 2012 met the above requirements of receiving at least 1 percent of the total number of votes cast for all gubernatorial candidates (5,655 votes), the political designation chosen by that candidate became an officially recognized political party, per Chapter 3-18 of the West Virginia Code (dead link).

Process to become a candidate

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 3, Article 5 of the West Virginia Code

Figure 1: This is the Candidate Certificate of Announcement Form for federal, state, and county offices.
  • Political party candidates
    • Before raising money for a campaign, a Pre-Candidacy Registration Form must be filed. The form must declare a Treasurer, who will be responsible for the campaign's financial transactions.[10][11]
    • Every sum of money, item or service of value received, all expenditures made and liabilities incurred must be reported. A pre-candidate, that is, someone who filed a Pre-Candidacy Registration Form, is required to file an annual report in accordance with the reporting schedule for campaign finances with the Secretary of State.[12]
    • Must file a Certificate of Announcement declaring a candidacy with the Secretary of State's Office. The 2014 deadline was January 25, 2014.[10][13]
    • Must pay a filing fee based on a percentage of the salary of the office sought.[10][14]
    • Must file a Candidate Financial Disclosure Statement with the West Virginia Ethics Commission within ten days of filing the Certificate of Announcement.[10]
  • Independent candidates
    • Must gain authorization to collect signatures by obtaining the Official Credentials Form from the County Clerk in each county one wishes to gather signatures. This form must be displayed to each voter canvassed or solicited.[10][15]
    • Must obtain a Candidate Nomination Petition at the time of gaining authorization.[16]
    • Must obtain the required number of signatures of at least 1 percent of the entire vote cast at the last preceding general election for the office being sought, but no less than twenty-five signatures.[10][17]
    • Candidates must file their Certificate of Announcement, nominating petitions, and filing fee with the appropriate office by August 1, 2014.[18][10]
  • Write-In Candidates
    • Must file a Certificate of Announcement with the Secretary of State's Office.[10]
    • Write-in candidates are not listed on the ballot, but rather a list of official write-in candidates is posted at each polling place during early voting and on Election Day.[10]
    • Write-in candidates are not required to pay a filing fee or collect signatures.[10]
    • The filing deadline for write-in candidates running in the general election was September 16, 2014.[10]

Filing fees

Office How the fee is determined Fee for 2014
Governor one percent of the office's annual salary N/A (office not up for election in 2014)
Lieutenant Governor one percent of the office's annual salary N/A
State executive offices one percent of the office's annual salary N/A
U.S. Senator one percent of the office's annual salary $1,740
Member of the U.S. House one percent of the office's annual salary $1,740
State Senator one percent of the office's annual salary $200
Member of the State House one percent of the office's annual salary $100

Petition requirements

In some cases, political parties and/or candidates may need to obtain signatures via the petition process to gain access to the ballot. This section outlines the laws and regulations pertaining to petitions and circulators.

Candidates

General petition requirements related to a candidate's place on the ballot are established in Chapter 3-5-23 of the West Virginia Code. In particular, circulators must receive from the clerk of the county commission credentials which must be exhibited to each voter canvassed or solicited. If the office sought covers more than one county, a separate nominating petition must be used for each county.[19]

West Virginia permits candidates to begin circulating petitions as early as they wish. The relevant statutes do not stipulate a date on which petitions may begin to circulate.

Campaign finance

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 3, Article 8 of the West Virginia Code

  • All candidates must file a Candidate Financial Disclosure Statement with the West Virginia Ethics Commission within ten days of filing the Certificate of Announcement.[10]
  • Every candidate's campaign committee "shall keep detailed accounts of every sum of money or other thing of value received by him or her, including all loans of money or things of value and of all expenditures and disbursements made, liabilities incurred, by the candidate, financial agent, person, association or organization or committee, for political purposes or by any officers or members of the committee, or any person acting under its authority or on its behalf."[20]
  • Candidates and "all persons supporting, aiding or opposing the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate shall keep for a period of six months records of receipts and expenditures which are made for political purposes.[21]
    • The committee should keep the receipts of all financial transactions for accounting purposes; however, the Secretary of State or County Clerk may conduct an audit, and the receipts would need to be presented for review.[22]

Campaign financial statement requirements[23]

  • Each financial statement required by the reporting schedule, other than a disclosure of electioneering communications, shall contain the following information:
    • The name, residence and mailing address and telephone number of each candidate, financial agent, treasurer or person and the name, address and telephone number of each association, organization or committee filing a financial statement.
    • The balance of cash and any other sum of money on hand at the beginning and the end of the period covered by the financial statement.
    • The name of any person making a contribution and the amount of the contribution.
    • The name, residence and mailing address of any individual or the name and mailing address of each lending institution making a loan.
    • The name, residence and mailing address of any individual or the name and mailing address of each partnership, firm, association, committee, organization or group having previously made or cosigned a loan for which payment is made or a balance is outstanding at the end of the period, together with the amount of repayment on the loan made during the period and the balance at the end of the period.
    • The total outstanding balance of all loans at the end of the period.
    • The name, residence and mailing address of any person to whom each expenditure was made or liability incurred
    • The total expenditure for the nomination, election or defeat of a candidate or any person supporting, aiding or opposing the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate in whose behalf an expenditure was made or a contribution was given for the primary or other election.
    • The total amount of expenditures made during the period covered by the financial statement.

Campaign finance reporting[10]

  • Every candidate is required to file campaign finance reports until the candidate's campaign committee is closed. There are two important time periods for campaign finance reports:
    • The transaction period is the specific time period committees must track all contributions and expenditures for their campaign finance reports.
    • Financial activity tracked during each transaction period must be recorded on the campaign financial statement and submitted during the appropriate time period in which the report is due.
  • Campaign finance reporting follows a schedule covering particular transaction periods and due dates:
Deadline Report Reporting period
April 4, 2014 2014 Annual/Primary-First March 30, 2013 - March 28, 2014
May 2, 2014 Pre-primary April 28, 2014 - May 2, 2014
June 23, 2014 Post-primary April 28, 2014 - May 25, 2014
September 26, 2014 General first May 26, 2014 - September 21, 2014
October 24, 2014 Pre-general September 22, 2014 - October 19, 2014
December 15, 2014 Post-general October 20, 2014 - November 16, 2014

Contribution limits
Candidates may not receive more than $1,000 per primary election or $1,000 per general election from an individual contributor.[24]

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office will require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

  • West Virginia Secretary of State-Elections Division
Why: To obtain and file nominating petitions; To obtain and file candidate announcement forms; To designate a campaign treasurer
Bldg. 1, Suite 157-K
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
Charleston, WV 25305-0770
Phone: 304.558.6000 or 1.866.SOS.VOTE
Election Fraud Hotline: 877.FRAUD.WV
Fax: 304.558.8386
Website: http://www.wvsos.com/elections/main.htm
Email: http://www.sos.wv.gov/Pages/contact-elections.aspx
  • West Virginia Ethics Commission
Why: To obtain and file campaign financial disclosure forms
210 Brooks St
Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: (304) 558-0664
Website: http://www.ethics.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Counties

Independent candidates must gain official credentials from the County Clerk in each county one wishes to gather signatures. If a website is not provided in the table, it is because one does not exist for this municipality. To provide a link or information in the table below, please email us.

West Virginia County Contact Information
County Email Phone Secondary Phone Fax Website Physical Address Mailing Address
Barbour (304) 457-3952 (304) 457-5472 Link 8 North Main Street Philippi, WV 26416
Berkeley (304) 264-1923 (304) 267-9723 Link 400 W Stephen St Martinsburg, WV 25401
Boone (304) 369-7301 (304) 369-7306 Link 206 Court Street Madison, WV 25130
Braxton (304) 765-2835 Link Courthouse Complex Sutton, WV 26601
Brooke (304) 737-4024 (304) 737-4023 Link 632 Main Street Wellsburg, WV 26070
Cabell (304) 526-8634 (304) 526-8648 Link 750 5th Ave Huntington, WV 25701
Calhoun (304) 354-6725 (304) 354-6880 Link PO Box 230 Grantsville, WV 26147
Clay (304) 587-4259 Link 207 Main St Clay, WV 25403
Doddridge (304) 873-2631 (304) 873-1840 Link 118 E Court St West Union, WV 26456
Fayette (304) 574-4249 (304) 574-4255 Link 100 N Court St Fayetteville, WV 25840
Gilmer (304) 462-7641 (304) 462-8855 Link 10 Howard St Glenville, WV 26351
Grant (304) 257-4422 (304) 257-9645 Link 5 Highland Ave Petersburg, WV 26847
Greenbrier (304) 647-6602 (304) 647-6666 Link PO Box 506 Lewisburg, WV 24901
Hampshire (304) 822-5112 Link 66 N High St Romney, WV 26757
Hancock (304) 564-3311 (304) 564-5941 Link 102 N Court St New Cumberland, WV 26047
Hardy (304) 530-0265 Link 204 Washington St Moorefield, WV 26836
Harrison (304) 624-8500 (304) 624-8673 Link 301 West Main Street Clarksburg, WV 26301
Jackson (304) 372-2011 Link PO Box 427 Ripley, WV 25271
Jefferson (304) 728-2944 (304) 728-1957 Link 110 E Washington St Charles Town, WV 25414
Kanawha (304) 357-0101 (304)357-0100 Link 407 Virginia St E Charleston, WV 25301
Lewis (304) 269-8200 (304) 269-8202 Link PO Box 466 Weston, WV 26452
Lincoln (304)824-7990 Link PO Box 297 Hamlin, WV 25523
Logan (304) 792-9088 Link 300 Stratton St Logan, WV 25601
Marion (304)367-4880 (304)367-5431 Link 217 Adams Street Fairmont, WV 26554
Marshall (304) 845-0482 (304) 845-5891 Link PO Drawer B Moundsville, WV 26041
Mason (304) 675-1110 (304) 675-4982 Link 200 6th St Point Pleasant, WV 25550
McDowell (304) 436-8896 (304) 436-8576 Link 90 Wyoming St Welch, WV 24801
Mercer (304) 487-8311 Link 1501 W Main St Princeton, WV 24740
Mineral (304) 788-3924 Link 150 Armstrong St Keyser, WV 26726
Mingo (304) 235 0378 (304) 235-0328 75 E 2nd Ave Williamson, WV 25661
Monongalia (304) 291-7257 Link 243 High St Morgantown, WV 26505
Monroe (304) 772-3096 (304) 772-5051 Link 216 Main St. Union, WV 24983
Morgan County (304) 258-8541 (304) 258-8545 Link 83 Fairfax St Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
Nicholas (304) 872-7830 Link 700 Main St Summersville, WV 26651
Ohio (304) 234-3628 (304) 234-3827 Link 1500 Chapline St Wheeling, WV 26003
Pendleton (304) 358-7573 (304) 358-2473 Link PO Box 187 Franklin, WV 26807
Pleasants (304) 684-6976 301 Court Lane St Marys, WV 26170
Pocahontas (304) 799-6063 Link 900C 10th Ave Marlinton, WV 24954
Preston (304) 329-1805 (304) 329-3192 Link 106 W Main St Kingwood, WV 26537
Putnam (304) 586-0202 Link 3389 Winfield Rd Winfield, WV 25213
Raleigh (304) 255-9123 (304) 255-9166 Link 215 Main St Beckley, WV 25801
Randolph (304) 636-2114 Link PO Box 2092 Elkins, WV 26241
Ritchie (304) 643-2164 Link 115 E Main St Harrisville, WV 26362
Roane (304) 927-2860 (304) 927-0079 Link 200 Main Street Spencer, WV 25276
Summers (304) 466-7100 (304) 466-7128 Link PO Box 97 Hinton, WV 25951
Taylor (304) 265-0880 (304) 265-3016 Link 214 W Main St Grafton, WV 26354
Tucker (304) 478-2866 (304) 478-4464 Link 213 First St Parsons, WV 26287
Tyler (304) 758-2126 Link 121 Main St Middlebourne, WV 26149
Upshur (304) 472-1068 (304) 472-1673 Link 38 W Main St Buckhannon, WV 26201
Wayne County (304) 272-6350 Link PO Box 248 Wayne, WV 25570
Webster (304) 847-5904 (304) 847-7671 Link 2 Court Square Webster Springs, WV 26288
Wetzel (304) 455-8224 Link PO Box 156 New Martinsville, WV 26155
Wirt (304) 275-4048 Link PO Box 53 Elizabeth, WV 26143
Wood (304) 424-1850 Link One Court Square Parkersburg, WV 26101
Wyoming (304) 732-8000 PO Box 309 Pineville, WV 24874

Term limits

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

The state executive term limits in West Virginia are as follows:

  • The Governor has a 2-consecutive term limit.

There are no state executive officials term-limited in 2014.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

There are no term limits placed on West Virginia state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

Portal:Congress
See also: List of United States Representatives from West Virginia and List of United States Senators from West Virginia

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from West Virginia:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from West Virginia
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 2 1 3
     Republican Party 0 2 2
TOTALS as of December 2014 2 3 5

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of West Virginia:

State Senate

Party As of December 2014
     Democratic Party 24
     Republican Party 10
Total 34

State house

Party As of December 2014
     Democratic Party 53
     Republican Party 47
Total 100


See also

External links

Official state and federal links

Forms

Other information

References

  1. West Virginia Secretary of State "2014 Filing Period," Accessed November 6, 2013
  2. West Virginia Secretary of State "For Non-Party Affiliated Candidates," Accessed November 6, 2013
  3. Ballotpedia phone call with West Virginia Secretary of State Office, October 9, 2013
  4. West Virginia Code "Section 3-5-23(d)," Accessed December 4, 2013
  5. West Virginia Secretary of State "Non-Party Affiliated Candidates," Accessed December 4, 2013
  6. E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
  7. West Virginia Code, "Chapter 3-1-8," accessed December 10, 2013 (dead link)
  8. West Virginia Code, "Section 3-5-23(d)," accessed December 4, 2013
  9. West Virginia Secretary of State, "Non-Party Affiliated Candidates," accessed December 4, 2013
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 West Virginia Secretary of State, "Running for Office in West Virginia," accessed December 10, 2013
  11. West Virginia Code, "Chapter 3-8-5(e)," accessed December 10, 2013
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named wvfiling_for_office
  13. West Virginia Code, "Chapter 3-8-5," accessed December 10, 2013
  14. West Virginia Code, "Chapter 3-5-8," accessed December 10, 2013
  15. West Virginia Code, "Chapter 3-5-23," accessed December 10, 2013
  16. West Virginia Code, "Chapter 3-5-23," accessed December 10, 2013
  17. West Virginia Code, "Chapter 3-5-24," accessed December 10, 2013
  18. West Virginia Code, "Chapter 3-5-8," accessed December 10, 2013
  19. West Virginia Code, "Chapter 3-5-23," accessed December 31, 2013
  20. West Virginia Code, "Chapter 3-8-5," accessed December 20, 2013
  21. West Virginia Code, "Chapter 3-8-2," accessed December 10, 2013
  22. West Virginia Code, "Chapter 3-8-7," accessed December 10, 2013
  23. West Virginia Code, "Chapter 3-8-5(a)," accessed December 19, 2013
  24. West Virginia Code, "Title 3-8-12," accessed April 9, 2014