The Constitution of West Virginia
is the organizing document for the government of the State of West Virginia
. It was adopted in 1872 and is one of about 20 state constitutions
that has not undergone a holistic revision
since it was first adopted. The constitution consists of 14 articles and 17 amendments.
The articles are:
- Article 4-7 provides all elections to be held on the First Tuesday after the first Monday in November unless specifically exempted.
- Article 4-10 prohibits duelling.
- Article 6-20 places the seat of government in the city of Charleston.
- Article 6-47 prohibits the incorporation of churches, a provision that has been found in other states to be unconstitutional.
- Article 9-8 prohibits creation of any new county smaller than 400 square miles or having less than six thousand people.
Amending the constitution
- See also: Amending state constitutions
West Virginians can modify the West Virginia Constitution through two different paths, a constitutional convention and legislatively-referred constitutional amendments.
Section 1 of Article XIV of the West Virginia Constitution addresses how constitutional conventions can be called:
- A majority vote of both chambers of the West Virginia State Legislature is required to put a question before the voters on a statewide ballot as to whether they wish a convention to be held.
- If the voters agree to a convention by a simple majority vote, it is to be called.
- Any proposed amendments that come out of a convention must go on a statewide ballot for possible ratification by the state's voters.
Section 2 of Article XIV of the West Virginia Constitution lays out how legislatively-referred constitutional amendments are to be implemented.
- Amendments can be proposed in either house of the state legislature.
- The membership of both houses must support a proposed amendment by a two-thirds vote.
- A vote on the proposed amendment may take place at a general or a special election. West Virginia has a unique requirement with regard to voting on amendments at special elections: "Whenever one or more amendments are submitted at a special election, no other question, issue or matter shall be voted upon at such special election."
- A simple majority vote is required for ratification.
- Proposed amendments must be placed on the ballot in such a way that they can be voted on separately.
- "An amendment may relate to a single subject or to related subject matters and may amend or modify as many articles and as many sections of the constitution as may be necessary and appropriate in order to accomplish the objectives of the amendment."
This Constitution article needs to be updated.