W.Va Secretary of State to review early voting procedures

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August 23, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

CHARLESTON, West Virginia: Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is ordering a review of the state's absentee balloting policies after a circuit court judge threw out 300 absentee votes in the Lincoln County primary[1].

On August 16, 2010, Lincoln County Circuit Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick III dismissed challenges from County Commission candidate Phoebe Harless and Sheriff candidate James Brumfield. However, the judge threw out 309 questionable absentee ballots in the Sheriff primary that declared Brumfield the winner over the incumbent Jerry Bowman. The judge found that 207 out of the 309 absentee ballots were not completely filled out as state regulations mandate. Mike Carey, the attorney representing Sheriff Bowman, questioned if the state's laws on absentee and early were ambiguous[1].

After the court ruling, Tennant told the Charleston Gazette that she would meet between Judge Kirkpatrick and Carey to discuss early voting rules and to also find ways to communicate the process better to voters. The Secretary of State also said that she would work with lawmakers when they re-convene in 2011 to clear up any confusing regulations[1].

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