Charleston, W.Va. – Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said today the lawsuit filed by the West Virginia Republican State Executive Committee is not only frivolous and wasteful, but one that will disenfranchise thousands of overseas military voters.
“This is a politically motivated action that calls for hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary expense. It could create historic voter and election official confusion and disenfranchise the overseas military personnel who are right now defending our right to vote.”
Per capita, West Virginia has one of the highest rates of military service in the country. Tennant said it is a shame that the Republican Party wants to deny those men and women the right to vote.
“For the past several days, I have been trying to understand why the Republican Chairman is taking this road especially since the Republican candidate for U.S. Senator is the first name voters will see on the ballot.
“Two weeks ago in an article published in the Charleston Daily Mail, GOP Chairman Mike Stuart said he didn’t think holding the special election and the regular general election on the same ballot was ‘a huge issue.’ In fact, GOP Chairman Stuart went on to say this: ‘I don't think it's fair to ask the taxpayers to print two different sets of ballots, particularly given the state of the economy.’”
Read the article in the Charleston Daily Mail by clicking here.
Secretary Tennant said we need to use common sense when conducting elections, and not spend what could be up to an million dollars more on printing separate ballots.
“I would like to ask the GOP Chairman why he has completely changed his mind on this issue. It is not a luxury of mine to bow to the prevailing political winds. I based my decision on West Virginia election code and precedent and case law. I am, and always have been, confident in the decision I made to put the special election and the general election on the same ballot.”
In the past there have been separate elections occurring at the same as another election and they have been on the same ballot with straight party voting, be it municipal elections or unexpired terms. In fact, on this ballot there will be special elections for the unexpired term of State Supreme Court and the 10th Senatorial District.
“The voters of West Virginia can be confident in this ballot and should not be discouraged by all of this political wrangling on the part of Republicans. I encourage registered voters to go to the polls on November 2 and vote for the candidate they feel would best represent them."