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Nomination Certificate (Signature Petition) Information

West Virginia currently recognizes four major political parties. They are the Democratic, Libertarian, Mountain and Republican parties.

Candidates affiliated with a minor or independent party, or not affiliated with any political party, may run in the General Election by following the nomination certification procedures to gather signatures and have their name placed on the General Election ballot.

This page provides all the necessary information for those candidates wishing to utilize the nomination certificate process.

Signature Gathering and Nomination Process

The first step for all candidates who will solicit contributions for their candidacy prior to filing their nomination certificate signature and certificate of announcement is to file a Pre-candidacy Registration Form. If candidates will not be raising money for their candidacy, they do not need to file this form

Next, candidates must obtain permission (i.e. “official credentials”) from each County Clerk in the county(ies) where they will be gathering signatures to be on the ballot.

After the official credentials are issued by the County Clerk, the candidate may begin soliciting signatures. The nomination certificates must be personally signed by registered voters of the candidate’s jurisdiction(s), and the number of signatures must be at least one percent (1%) of the entire vote cast in the preceding general election for that office, but may not be less than twenty-five (25). The registered voters signing the nomination petition must be registered in the state, district, county, or other political division for the office the candidate is seeking.

The following link shows a table of the petition signature number requirements for 2018 Elections: Petition Signature Requirements

If the office sought is filled by the voters of multiple counties the candidate must use separate signature forms for each county.

Signature Approval Process

Once the nomination certificates are complete and submitted to the County Clerk (or the Secretary of State, as the case dictates), the election official may investigate the validity of the certificates and signatures.

If the certificate’s validity is in doubt, the county clerk may ask the county prosecuting attorney (or the Secretary of State may ask the Attorney General), to begin a proceeding against the nominee to determine his or her right to nomination.

Filing Deadline

All nominating certificates must be filed no later than August 1st before the General Election. In the case of all other elections, the certificates must be filed ninety (90) days before the date of the election, unless otherwise provided by a municipal charter or ordinance.

Candidates filing nomination certificates must file them with the same office that they submit their Certificates of Announcement to in the following circumstances:

  • For offices to be voted on by the entire state or multiple counties, certificates are filed with the Secretary of State.

  • For candidates for county and magisterial offices or offices filled by voters of a single county, certificates are filed with the county clerk of that county.

  • For candidates for municipal offices, certificates are filed with the municipal recorder

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