§3-5-15. Ascertaining and certifying primary election results.

When the polls are closed in an election precinct where only a single election board has served, the receiving board shall perform all of the duties prescribed in this section. When the polls are closed in an election precinct where two election boards have served, both the receiving and counting boards shall together conclude the counting of the votes cast, the tabulating and summarizing of the number of the votes cast, unite in certifying and attesting to the returns of the election and join in making out the certificates of the result of the election provided in this article. They shall not adjourn until the work is completed.

In all election precincts, as soon as the polls are closed and the last voter has voted, the receiving board shall first process the absentee ballots according to the provisions of section eight, article three of this chapter. After the absentee ballots to be counted have been deposited in the ballot box, the election officers shall proceed to ascertain the result of the election in the following manner:

(a) The receiving board shall ascertain from the poll books and record separately on the proper form the total number of voters of each party and nonpartisan voters who have voted.

(1) The number of provisional ballots of each party shall be counted and subtracted from the number of voters of the same party, which result should equal the number of ballots of that party deposited in the ballot box.

(2) The total of all voters, including both partisan and nonpartisan voters, minus the total of all provisional ballots, should equal the number of nonpartisan ballots deposited in the ballot box.

(3) The commissioners and clerks shall also report, over their signatures, the number of each type of ballots spoiled and the number of each type of ballots not voted.

(b) The procedure for counting ballots, whether performed throughout the day by the counting board, as provided in section thirty-three, article one of this chapter, or after the close of the polls by the receiving board or by the two boards together, shall be as follows:

(1) The ballot box shall be opened and all votes shall be tallied in the presence of the entire election board;

(2) One of the commissioners shall take one ballot from the box at a time and shall determine if the ballot is properly signed by the two poll clerks of the receiving board. If not properly signed, the ballot shall be placed in an envelope for the purpose without unfolding it. If properly signed, the commissioner shall announce which type of ballot it is and hand the ballot to a team of commissioners of opposite politics, who shall together read the votes marked on the ballot for each office. Write-in votes for nomination for any office and write-in votes for election for any person other than an official write-in candidate shall be disregarded;

(3) The commissioner responsible for removing the ballots from the box shall keep a tally of the number of ballots of each party and any nonpartisan ballot as they are removed and whenever the number of ballots of a particular party shall equal the number of voters entered on the poll book for that party minus the number of provisional ballots of that party, as determined according to subsection (a) of this section, any other ballot found in the ballot box shall be placed in the same envelope with unsigned ballots not counted, without unfolding the same, or allowing anyone to examine or know the contents thereof, and the number of excess ballots of each party shall be recorded on the envelope;

(4) Each poll clerk shall keep an accurate tally of the votes cast by marking in ink on tally sheets, which shall be provided for the purpose so as to show the number of votes received by each candidate for each office;

(5) When the votes have been read from a ballot, the ballot shall be immediately strung on a thread, with separate threads for each party's ballots and for nonpartisan ballots.

(c) As soon as the results at the precinct are ascertained, the commissioners and clerks shall make out and sign three certificates of result, for each party represented, of the vote for all candidates of each party represented, on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State, giving the complete returns of the election at the polling place, which form shall include the following oath:

We, the undersigned commissioners and poll clerks of the primary election held at precinct No. .......... of .......... district of .......... County, W.Va., on the .......... day of .........., 20..., do hereby certify that having been first duly sworn, we have carefully and impartially ascertained the result of said election at said precinct for the candidates on the official ballot of the .......... party, and the same is as follows:

The election officers shall enter the name of each office and the full name of each candidate on the ballot and the number of votes, in words and numbers, received by each. The election officers shall also enter the full name of every official write-in candidate for election to offices to be filled in the primary, except delegate to national convention, and the number of votes for each. Two of the certificates of result of election, for each party, shall be sealed in separately addressed envelopes, furnished for that purpose, and shall be disposed of by the precinct commissioners as follows: Two of the sealed envelopes containing the returns of each party shall be delivered to the clerk of the county commission who shall, within forty-eight hours, mail one of the sealed returns for each precinct by certified mail to the Secretary of State. The one unsealed certificate shall be posted on the outside of the front door of the polling place.

(d) All ballots voted for candidates of each party shall be sealed in separate envelopes and the commissioners and clerks shall each sign across the seal.