Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said today the so-called ballot “compromise” offered by GOP State Chairman Mike Stuart violates both state and federal law.
Tennant also said the GOP leader is grandstanding by offering his compromise through the media and not in a court of law.
The GOP filed a lawsuit late last week that said the ballot being used for the general election, which includes the special US Senate race and an option for citizens to cast a straight party ticket, is in error.
Stuart offered two options in a press release issued Tuesday afternoon: Removal of the straight party option and printing a separate paper ballot for the Senate election.
Tennant pointed out that both parts of Stuart’s options are illegal.
The first option, Tennant said, violates a state law that allows citizens to vote a straight ticket. The second option violates the Help American Vote Act (HAVA), a federal law that says each precinct must have at least one machine that is compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
“This goes back to what I have said all along,” Tennant said. “I took the common sense approach and followed the law and precedent and kept them together on the same ballot. It is not as easy as printing up another ballot. Much thought, planning, and debate took place to follow the law, save the state money, and provide voters with an open, honest, and fair election.”
Tennant said putting the special US Senate race on the general election ballot will not only prevent voter and poll worker confusion, but also save the state and counties millions of dollars. She said having two ballots would have meant printing two poll books and having two sets of poll workers in every precinct, two sets of voting machines, two sets of absentee ballot applications, among other wasteful redundant procedures.