CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — During the Presidential debate on Tuesday night, a reference was made to ballot tampering in West Virginia. On Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, WV Secretary of State Mac Warner (R) offered clarification.
Warner stated the incident President Trump spoke about was a unique circumstance where a postal carrier altered absentee ballot applications, not ballots. The action was uncovered by the county clerk who turned the case over to the Secretary of State’s office. The postal carrier pleaded guilty in the case back in July.
“The timely prosecution of election fraud in the 2020 Primary election cycle in West Virginia shows that we take election fraud seriously, that the system we have in place works well. Voters should be confident that this election will be safe, secure, and fair,” Warner said.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) also released the following statement on the matter:
“It’s plain wrong that President Trump would mislead Americans to think mail-in voter fraud is happening in West Virginia. There is no widespread voter fraud in West Virginia and any claim to the contrary is false. The truth is one mail carrier altered five ballot request forms from Democrat to Republican in the primary election in Pendleton County. The judicial and electoral system worked: he was caught, charged with attempted election fraud and pled guilty. Mail-in voting is safe and altering ballots is a felony punishable with up to 5 years in prison and a $20,000 fine in West Virginia, in addition to any federal penalty. To suggest anything different is just not true and an attempt to undermine Americans’ faith in our Democratic process and disparage West Virginia is wrong.”U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Secretary of State Warner stated he shares the President’s concern over the potential for increased election fraud with the increase in absentee voting and in those vote-by-mail-only states. However, Warner said states can mitigate the increase in possible election fraud by developing strategies to deter, investigate and prosecute those who attempt to cheat.
“We have conducted extensive training with clerks and election officials, covering everything from cyber security, to continuity of operations, to preventing and detecting fraud. This was a prime example of a dedicated clerk, closely watching her election process, and quickly reporting an anomaly as she had been trained to do. The system worked, and we were able to rapidly assure the voters of West Virginia that the election was secure,” Warner said.
Ahead of the primary election in West Virginia, Secretary Warner organized an election anti-fraud task force. This includes West Virginia’s U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, the WV Attorney General, the WV State Police, local law enforcement and the Secretary of State investigations team. There is also a toll free number for people to call in suspected election fraud, 1-877-FRAUD-WV (877-372-8688)