Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant’s Office filed a legal brief today in response to a lawsuit seeking a special gubernatorial election to be held in 2011.
The West Virginia Citizen Action Group and attorney Thornton Cooper filed the lawsuit in November. Secretary Tennant, Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, and House Speaker Rick Thompson are named as respondents.
Tennant said her office was named as a respondent because in West Virginia the Secretary of State is the chief elections officer.
Tennant said Monday the brief showed that her office does not have the authority to call a special election. The brief also showed what Tennant called the “nuts and bolts” of what would go into holding a special election for Governor.
“In our brief we gave a general timeline – with no dates set in stone,” Tennant said. “We wanted to show how it would progress if there were a special election for Governor in 2011. Our goal in the Secretary of State’s Office is to protect voters and third party candidates to make sure they have access to the ballot.”
Tennant pointed out that in July, after the state legislature passed an unprecedented law that called for a special primary election for US Senate, the entire election process – including candidate filing and early voting – was compressed into a timeline of just over one month.
Tennant has said she would like to see the timeline spread over at least 90 days if there is a special primary election for Governor.
The entire brief filed by the Secretary of State’s Office can be read here.