On Thursday, September 15, the West Virginia Supreme Court issued an opinion in Wells v State, 16-0779. It construed the West Virginia election law to require all candidates who petition for the November ballot to have filed a declaration of candidacy on the last Saturday in January. On September 16, the Secretary of State phoned various candidates who had petitioned to be on the November ballot and told them that they will be removed from the ballot (even though they had already been certified to be on the ballot) as a result of the decision.
The only presidential candidate who petitioned in West Virginia this year is Darrell Castle, Constitution Party nominee. There is no effect on the presidential nominees of the Democratic, Green, Libertarian or Republican Parties, because they are qualified and did not need a petition this year.
Since 1991, the West Virginia election law has said in section 3-5-7, “Any person who is eligible and seeks to hold an office or political party position to be filled by election in any primary or general election shall file a certificate of announcement declaring his or her candidacy for the nomination of election to the office…The certificate of announcement shall be filed with the proper officer not later than the last Saturday in January.” The West Virginia primary is in May…
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