Supreme Court rejects lawsuit over online voter registration

By Kyla Asbury | May 5, 2016

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has rejected a lawsuit filed against Cabell and Kanawha County clerks over their refusal to accept online voter registrations from the Secretary of State’s Office.

The Associated Press reported that Cabell County Clerk Karen Cole said she received an official statement Tuesday from the

state Supreme Court saying the petition filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia had been rejected.

"I am grateful that the Supreme Court made the decision that they did so now we can move forward and finish the election process and be prepared for May 10," Cole told The Herald-Dispatch.

The lawsuit had been filed earlier on Tuesday against Cole and Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick, who have been mailing papers out to online registrants to complete before they would accept the registration.

The lawsuit alleged that Cole and McCormick denied thousands of would-be voters equal protection of the law since they are the only two counties in West Virginia that did not accept online registration.

It also asked the court for a writ of mandamus to require those clerks to accept online registrations.

Cole and McCormick said they were uncomfortable with the security provisions in West Virginia's voter registration website.

Anthony Majestro, an attorney for Powell & Majestro in Charleston, along with Jamie Lynn Crofts with the ACLU of West Virginia Foundation, filed the suit on behalf of the ACLU and Benjamin Sheridan, a candidate for the House of Delegates, running in the 35th district in Kanawha County and Abby Holmes, a registered voter in Cabell County who tried to update her voter registration online.

Approximately 33,000 voters in West Virginia have registered online. In Cabell County, at least 1,300 people registered online, and were mailed forms from the clerk's office.

The deadline for voter registration was April 19. Online registration began in September after the Legislature passed a bill in 2013 allowing it.

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