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 Non-Party Affiliated Candidates

For Non-Party Affiliated Candidates 

West Virginia Code §3-5-23 and §3-5-24

  • While the parties in West Virginia that have gained ballot access nominate candidates in the primary, or by convention if the party is small, other citizens who want to run independently or under the banner of a minor party must petition the voters within the state by gathering signatures to get on the General Election ballot.
  • The petitioning process assures that a candidate or party has some level of support among the voters before being placed on the ballot.
  • WV Code prohibits anyone who was a candidate on the primary ballot from collecting petition signatures to be a candidate on the general election ballot. 

Basic Rules for Petition

  • The essential requirements for petitions for nomination are listed below. For a publication containing detailed information, refer to West Virginia State Code.
    • Petitions must be on forms prescribed by the Secretary of State. To prevent problems, a completed version of the petition heading should be submitted to the Secretary of State for review and approval before any petitions are circulated. All copies of the petition form should be reproduced in identical format.
    • All nominating certificates must be filed with the Secretary of State for offices to be voted for by voters of the entire state or by any subdivision of the state other than a single county.  In the case of all candidates for county and magisterial district offices, including all offices to be filed by the voters of a single county, with the County Clerk.  Candidates must file their Certificate of Announcement and pay the filing fee no later than August 1 preceding the General Election. 
    • The petitioners must obtain credentials from the County Clerk of each county authorizing them to solicit signatures from that county's voters.  Those credentials must be exhibited to each voter canvassed. In 2002, a law was adopted that no longer requires those collecting signatures to be residents of West Virginia.
    • For groups of citizens petitioning under the name of a minor party, multiple candidates may be listed on the same petition, and a valid signature will be counted for each candidate provided the signing voter resides in the division where that candidate is to be nominated. For example, petitions circulated in one county could contain the names of statewide candidates, the congressional district candidate from that county, and so forth.
      • Each page of the petition should be used in only one county, and the county name should be entered on the petition. This allows the completed petitions to be returned to the proper county for verification.  
    • The completed petitions must contain valid signatures of at least one percent of the entire amount of votes cast for the specific office in the previous election for that office; but cannot be less than twenty-five. For example, since 755,887 voters cast ballots for President of the United  States in 2004, the number of valid signatures to get on the ballot for that office in that district would be 7,559.
    • The completed petitions must be filed no later than August 1 preceding the General Election.
    • The petitions will be checked and the number of valid signatures counted by the County Clerk of the county where the signatures were obtained.