Washington, D.C. – At the Pew Center on the States’ Voting in America 2012 conference in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said her administration has ensured integrity by investigating elected officials who violated election laws and protected the voters by preventing unrealistic barriers from being placed on their right to cast a ballot.
Secretary Tennant took part in a panel discussion entitled “Ensuring Integrity and Access: Voter ID in 2012 and Beyond” with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Michael Pitts, a law professor from Indiana University.
Secretary Tennant detailed the voter verification process in West Virginia. She said a voter is only required to show valid ID that shows their name and current address if it is their first time casting a ballot and they registered by mail to vote. In West Virginia, voter verification at the polls is through signing the poll book and a poll worker’s careful examination of that signature.
“I discussed the recent investigation and convictions in Lincoln County and showed that photo ID laws would not have prevented elected officials from manipulating the election process,” Secretary Tennant said. “I am not against voter ID laws if it means every single person who wants to vote has a valid ID to present at the polls. Even if we have 99.99 percent of people with ID, that’s still not enough. We cannot place unrealistic barriers or arbitrary rules that will impact a certain group of people or keep a single person from being able to cast a ballot when they are legally registered to vote. I am dedicated to providing open, fair, and honest elections to the people of West Virginia – and making sure everyone follows the rules.”
Secretary Tennant also pointed out webcasting of voter information press conferences, the revision and improvement of poll worker training materials, and being present in all 55 counties on election day to work closely with election officials.
The Pew Center conference featured more than one dozen Secretaries of State from around the country. Experts from companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft discussed the impact of technology on the election process and campaigning. Other topics discussed at the conference were problems that arose on Election Day; how changes in voter registration practices and election laws impacted the election; and, how better data collection and analysis can improve election administration.
The entire panel discussion can be viewed on the Secretary of State’s website at www.wvsos.com.