The oath of office to be taken by all but a few public officers in West Virginia, from a city council member to the Governor of the State, is prescribed by the West Virginia Constitution. Article IV, Section 5 specifies the terms of the oath to be taken:
"Every person elected or appointed to any office, before proceeding to exercise the authority, or discharge the duties thereof, shall make oath or affirmation that he will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this State, and that he will faithfully discharge the duties of his said office to the best of his skill and judgment; and no other oath, declaration, or test shall be required as a qualification, unless herein provided."
The oath for members of the Legislature is separately set out in the Constitution, in Article VI, Section 16, and consists of the general oath given by all officers, plus an additional oath.
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of West Virginia, and faithfully discharge the duties of Senator (or Delegate) according to the best of my ability." and "I will not accept or receive, directly or indirectly, any money or other valuable thing, from any corporation, company or person, for any vote or influence I may give or withhold, as Senator (or Delegate) on any bill, resolution or appropriation, or for any act I may do or perform as Senator (or Delegate)."
Click on an either of the icons above to download the Oath of Office and Certificate
Often, a newly elected official may wish to have a ceremonial event at which friends are present and he or she takes the oath of office. In the case of an elected official, it is important that the official's election have been certified or declared as provided by law before the official oath is taken.
For example, a state official or legislator is not officially declared elected until the Legislature convenes and the official returns of the election are presented to and accepted by the Legislature. A circuit judge is not officially declared elected until the Governor issues a proclamation and a magistrate must be commissioned by the Governor. A county official is not officially elected until the board of canvassers certifies the election.
Generally, new officials must take the oath of office before beginning the duties of the office. The oath can be taken before the term begins, provided the election is certified and/or finally declared by the appropriate body.
The oaths of all state officials, including constitutional officers, justices, members of the Legislature, circuit judges, members of boards and commissions appointed by the Governor, executive appointees to administrative positions, and other offices not otherwise specified are filed with the Secretary of State. (See W.Va. Code §6-1-6)
The oaths of county officials and magistrates are filed with the clerk of the county commission, except that original oaths of members of the board of education are filed with the secretary of the board (the superintendent of schools) and a certified copy with the clerk of the county commission. (See W.Va. Code §6-1-6)
The originals oaths of all municipal officials are filed with the recorder or clerk of the municipality and a certified copy with the clerk of the county commission of the county in which the major portion of the municipality is located. (See W.Va. Code §6-1-6)
Some oaths of office, such as those of election officials and certain appointed officers, for example, are filed as prescribed in the section requiring the oath.
If we may be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us: 304.558.6000 toll free 866.767.8683 email: AdLaw@wvsos.gov