State Supreme Court rejects Charleston election challenge

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Sep 13, 2011

CHARLESTON -- The West Virginia Supreme Court has rejected a request by Janet "J.T." Thompson, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones' lone challenger in the May election, to block Charleston City Council from holding a hearing on her claims of voter fraud.

According to the Court's order list Friday, all five justices voted to turn down her request for a writ of prohibition.

Jennifer Bundy, a spokeswoman for the Court, said Monday the individual order was not yet ready.

The Court's ruling means that the results of the tribunal, which rejected all of Thompson's claims, will remain.

According to the Sunday Gazette-Mail, Thompson had filed a petition with the Court before the city's July 21 tribunal, in hopes of stopping the hearing. She argued the newly elected council members should recuse themselves from the case.

Thompson, an independent who lost to Jones in the May 17 election by more than a 2-1 margin, contested the entire election process.

However, this wasn't the first time Thompson, a paralegal, took her legal wranglings to the state's high court.

Last September, the state Supreme Court voted 4-0 to refuse a petition by Thompson -- at the time a candidate for the state's House of Delegates -- alleging the layout of the U.S. Senate election ballot was illegal.

She argued that the ballots should be separate because the Senate election was considered a special election.

The Court did not rule on the merits of the complaint. Instead, justices agreed with Secretary of State Natalie Tennant's office that the issue needed to first be taken up by a circuit court.

Thompson's filing was consolidated with a complaint filed by the state Republican Party, which also said the ballot being used for the general election was in error.

The GOP's filing argued the party would suffer "irreparable harm" if voters were allowed to vote a "straight ticket" in both the general election and U.S. Senate races. That option allows voters to select candidates from the same party by making a single mark on the ballot. Democrats outnumber Republicans in West Virginia by nearly 2-to-1.

The issue was later rejected by a Kanawha Circuit Court judge.

Former Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, beat out Republican John Raese, a Morgantown businessman, in the Nov. 2 election. Manchin is serving out the remainder of longtime U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, who died June 28, 2010.

More News

The Record Network