On September 15, 2016 the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia filed its opin- ion in the case styled ERIK PATRICK WELLS , Petitioner/Respondent Below v. STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA ex rel. CHARLES T. MILLER, Prosecuting Attorney for Kanawha County, Respondent/Petitioner Below. On July 18, 2016 petitioner, a registered Democrat, filed a “Candidates Certificate of Announcement for 2016 Partisan Elections” and paid his required filing fee to the Kanawha County Clerk’s office. Hel left blank a portion of the form which stated as follows:
I am a member of and affiliated with the following political Party:__________________. I am a member of and affiliated with this political party as evidenced by my current voter’s registration and I have not been registered as a member of another political party within sixty days of this date. (W. Va. Code § 3-5-7(d)(6)
Thereafter, he filed a Minor Party or Independent Candidate Nomination Petition in order to become a certificate nomination candidate pursuant to W. Va. Code § 3-5-23. On this form in the space provided for “Party” the certificate read: “Independent.” Later petitioner submitted signatures from 1,019 individuals.