Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said Friday that reports of “UN Election Observers” being allowed inside polling places on Election Day are untrue, and that election officials around the state know the law when it comes to who is permitted inside the polling place.
West Virginia State Code says only voters, poll workers, employees of the County Clerk’s Office, employees of the Secretary of State’s Office, and employees of the county’s Prosecuting Attorney’s Office are allowed inside the polling place.
Secretary Tennant said there were election observers in West Virginia last month during the preparations for Election Day. They were with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe/Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), of which the United States was a founding member. The observers were learning about processes such as poll worker training, the packaging of precinct kits, and the public testing of machines.
The election observers who were in West Virginia are now in Ohio, observing the election there.
Secretary Tennant met with the observers on October 17 at the State Capitol. The observers, Andrew McEntee of the United Kingdom and Kirsten Mogensen of Denmark, were informed of the law prohibiting them from entering polling places and expressed their intention to follow the law.
“There are those who would spread these rumors and try to undermine the confidence in our election process,” Secretary Tennant said. “I personally have spoken with several concerned citizens today and told them the truth about what is happening. There will be no observers in our polling places on Election Day. But I am proud that these international observers would want to see how well we prepare for elections in West Virginia.”
If a voter witnesses something they believe is a violation of election law, contact the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office at (304) 558-6000 or 1-866-767-8683.