CHARLESTON, W.Va. - With the bulk of the 2017 municipal elections rapidly approaching, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner asks the public and the candidates associated with the upcoming 2017 municipal elections to assist in ensuring fair and clean municipal elections by keeping a watchful eye and reporting suspicious election activity to his office.
According to Secretary Warner, 131 of the state's 232 municipalities are hosting elections in 2017.
"We want citizens to be active in local elections and we want them to have confidence in the process of electing local council members and mayors," Secretary Warner said. “When it comes to elections, we have a goal of restoring confidence in the process. That is why we’re working closely with county clerks to clean up voter registration lists, and we’re letting perpetrators of election laws know that we mean business when it comes to fraud against our Democratic process.” County clerks throughout West Virginia have removed over 44,000 outdated registrations since January.
Noting the leading role municipal clerks and recorders play in running local elections, the Secretary of State's Office provides support with guidance on election procedures and investigates allegations of election law violations. An integral part of the Secretary of State’s role in municipal elections is to ensure a clean process by addressing election complaints from the candidates and the public at large.
"We take election complaints very seriously. Everyone has to play by the rules, whether you’re a candidate or someone who supports a candidate. Through State Code, our Legislature mandates transparency and disclosure, particularly in campaign financing, campaigning via media, road signs, and distribution of literature. When everyone follows the procedures proscribed by Code, and candidates abide by disclosure rules, then voter confidence increases,” Warner said.
According to Secretary Warner, complaints are formally initiated through a complaint form filed with his office. A copy of the form can be downloaded from this link: http://www.sos.wv.gov/elections/Pages/Election_Complaint.aspx
In addition to the formal complaint process, Secretary Warner said that his staff works closely with city clerks and recorders on how to address possible election violations and irregularities. However, a formal investigation is not initiated by the Secretary of State's Office until a complaint form is filed with the Secretary of State's Office.
Warner recently announced Donald Kersey, Deputy Legal Counsel, as the Secretary of State's Elections Division Director. For more direct information on the complaint process, you can contact the Elections Division, or Director Kersey, at 304-558-6000 or by email at DKersey@wvsos.com. “Cleaning up voter lists, increasing transparency, and improving voter confidence will lead to increased voter participation and turnout,” Kersey said.