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West Virginia Supreme Court hears appeal on petition signatures
By Kyle Maichle
The Observer of Sheperdstown filed an appeal to the state's highest court in response to a Jefferson County Circuit Court ruling that found petition signatures from a zoning referendum are not public records.
Stephanie Grove, legal counsel for Jefferson County Clerk Jennifer Maghan, argued that petition signatures are not public records. Grove also argued that petition signatures are equivalent to a secret ballot. Stephen Skinner, legal counsel for the newspaper, argued that petition signatures should be made public. Skinner cited a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found disclosure of petition signatures improves transparency and promotes integrity in the initiative process.
A ruling on the case is expected to be released in December of 2010.