Minority pushes for voting reform in WV legislature

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Some delegates introduced an election reform bill Tuesday morning.

They are hoping for republican support of the bill, which they say modernize voting procedures in public elections.

Delegates John Doyle, (D) Jefferson, Del. Doug Skaff, (D) Kanawha, and Del. Evan Hansen, (D) Monongalia are the primary sponsors of HB 2814.

“In Jefferson County every early voting day there were long lines outside up the block even in bad weather, and we just simply have to make it easier for people to vote early,” said Doyle.

“We should be setting records here in little old West Virginia, we did it with vaccinations why can’t we do it here with voter turnout?” said Skaff.

The bill amends a lot of the West Virginia code.

Among some of the changes, the bill proposes removing the authority of election commissioners and poll clerks to dispute voter claims of disability.

It revises the procedure to declare voters inactive on registration lists, it authorizes all registered voters to vote absentee by mail, and it establishes a criminal offense for coercion and intimidation of a voter.

“Signatures change over time and there have been situations where someone goes in and signs – ‘this is not your signature…yes it is!’ you know, we just want to avoid that,” said Doyle.

The West Virginia Mountain Party says they also want to see voting reform in the state.

“In general we support increased access to the ballot and to us, we view voter rights as very sacred,” said Robert Smith with the Mountain Party.

Doyle says there are too many roadblocks in election law.

He thinks it’s a subconscious attitude from the past where people have to prove they should be allowed to vote.

“I hope they will say ‘finally, the legislature wants us to vote,'” he said.

According to Doyle they sent the bill to the Secretary of State’s Office for their input but they have not had a chance to read it.

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