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 WV Code Appointments


West Virginia Code on Appointments
to Fill Vacancies in Federal and State Offices

(For the most up-to-date Code, visit www.legis.state.wv.us)

Chapter 3. Elections
Article 10. Filling Vacancies


§3-10-1. Elections to fill vacancies.

Except as provided in sections three and four of this article, elections to fill vacancies shall be conducted to fill any unexpired term when more than one year of the term of office remains at the time of such election. When less than one year of the term of office remains at the time of the election, the person appointed to fill the vacancy shall continue in office until the completion of the term. Elections to fill vacancies shall be held at the same places, and superintended, conducted and returned, and the result ascertained, certified and declared, in the same manner, and by the same officers, as in general elections. The persons elected, having first duly qualified, shall enter upon the duties of their respective offices.


§3-10-2. Vacancy in office of governor.

In case of the death, conviction or impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation or other disability of the governor, the president of the Senate shall act as governor until the vacancy is filled or the disability removed; and if the president of the Senate, for any of the above-named causes, shall be or become incapable of performing the duties of governor, the same shall devolve upon the speaker of the House of Delegates; and in all other cases where there is no one to act as governor, one shall be chosen by the joint vote of the Legislature. Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of governor before the first three years of the term shall have expired, a new election for governor shall take place to fill the vacancy. If the vacancy shall occur more than thirty days next preceding a general election, the vacancy shall be filled at such election and the acting governor for the time being shall issue a proclamation accordingly, which shall be published prior to such election as a Class II-O legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be each county of the state. But if it shall occur less than thirty days next preceding such general election, and more than one year before the expiration of the term, such acting governor shall issue a proclamation, fixing a time for a special election to fill such vacancy, which shall be published as hereinbefore provided.

If the vacancy is to be filled at a general election and shall occur before the primary election to nominate candidates to be voted for at such general election, candidates to fill the vacancy shall be nominated at such primary election in accordance with the time requirements and the provisions and procedures prescribed in article five of this chapter. When nominations to fill such vacancy cannot be so accomplished at such primary election, and in all cases wherein the vacancy is to be filled at a special election, candidates to be voted for at such general or special elections shall be nominated by a state convention to be called, convened and held under the resolutions, rules and regulations of the political party executive committees of the state. The laws prescribing the manner of calling, constituting and holding conventions to nominate candidates for presidential electors shall, insofar as applicable, govern conventions to nominate candidates to fill any vacancy in any office to be filled by the voters of the state as a whole, except that, in lieu of the magisterial district conventions in the several counties, the county executive committee shall call and convene a county convention at the county seat with delegates thereto apportioned to and representative of the several magisterial districts of the county as provided in section twenty-one of article five of this chapter. The county convention shall proceed to select the county's prescribed number of state convention delegates from the several magisterial districts thereof and the chairman and secretary of the convention shall promptly certify the names and addresses of the persons so selected as delegates to the state convention to the chairman of the state executive committee of the political party.


§3-10-3. Vacancies in offices of state officials, United States senators and judges.

Any vacancy occurring in the office of secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, attorney general, commissioner of agriculture, United States senator, judge of the supreme court of appeals or in any office created or made elective to be filled by the voters of the entire state, judge of a circuit court or judge of a family court is filled by the governor of the state by appointment. If the unexpired term of a judge of the supreme court of appeals, a judge of the circuit court or judge of a family court is for less than two years or if the unexpired term of any other office named in this section is for a period of less than two years and six months, the appointment to fill the vacancy is for the unexpired term. If the unexpired term of any office is for a longer period than above specified, the appointment is until a successor to the office has timely filed a certificate of candidacy, has been nominated at the primary election next following such timely filing and has thereafter been elected and qualified to fill the unexpired term. Proclamation of any election to fill an unexpired term is made by the governor of the state and, in the case of an office to be filled by the voters of the entire state, must be published prior to the election as a Class II-0 legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code and the publication area for the publication is each county of the state. If the election is to fill a vacancy in the office of judge of a circuit court or judge of a family court, the proclamation must be published prior to the election as a Class II-0 legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code and the publication area for such publication is each county in the judicial or family court circuit.


§3-10-4. Vacancies in representation in Congress.

If there be a vacancy in the representation from this state in the House of Representatives in the Congress of the United States, the governor shall, within ten days after the fact comes to his knowledge, give notice thereof by proclamation, to be published prior to such election as a Class II-O legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be each county in the congressional district. In such proclamation he shall appoint some day, not less than thirty nor more than seventy-five days from the date thereof, for holding the election to fill such vacancy. Nominations to fill such vacancy shall be made in the manner prescribed for nominating a candidate to fill a vacancy in the office of governor, to be voted for at a special election. The congressional district executive committee of a party shall perform the duties devolving upon the state executive committee in filling a state office.

§3-10-5. Vacancies in state Legislature.

Any vacancy in the office of state senator or member of the House of Delegates shall be filled by appointment by the governor, in each instance from a list of three legally qualified persons submitted by the party executive committee of the delegate district in the case of a member of the House of Delegates, and by the party executive committee of the state senatorial district in the case of a state senator, of the party with which the person holding the office immediately preceding the vacancy was affiliated, and of the county or state senatorial district, respectively, in which he resided at the time of his election or appointment. If the vacating member of the House of Delegates resided in a county only a portion of which is included in his delegate district, all three of the qualified persons submitted shall be residents of that portion of the county in which the vacating delegate resided at the time of his election or appointment to the House of Delegates. The appointment to fill a vacancy in the House of Delegates shall be for the unexpired term. Such list of legally qualified persons to fill the vacancy shall be submitted to the governor within fifteen days after such vacancy occurs and the governor shall duly make his appointment to fill such vacancy from such list of legally qualified persons within five days after same is received. If such list is not submitted to the governor within the fifteen day period, the governor shall appoint within five days thereafter a legally qualified person of the political party of the person vacating the office. If the unexpired term in the office of the state senator be for less than two years and two months, the appointment shall be for the unexpired term. If the unexpired term be for a period longer than two years and two months, the appointment shall be until the next general election and until the election and qualification of a successor to the person appointed, at which general election the vacancy shall be filled by election for the unexpired term. Notice of an election to fill a vacancy in the office of state senator shall be given by the governor by proclamation and shall be published prior to such election as a Class II-0 legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be each county in the senatorial district. Nominations for candidates to fill such vacancy shall be made in the manner prescribed for nominating a candidate to fill a vacancy in the office of governor to be voted for at a general election. The state senatorial district executive committee of the political party shall discharge the duties incident to state senator nominations devolving upon the party state executive committee in nominating a candidate for a state office.