Republicans Register Online to Elect Convention Delegates

WHEELING — Monday marked the first day West Virginia Republicans could register online to vote in an election to choose delegates for next year’s State GOP Convention.

The Web site,, was up and running by Monday afternoon, and Republicans have until Nov. 30 to register.

Those who don’t wish to send the application by computer may download the application from the site, fill it out and mail it to the West Virginia Republican Party, P.O. Box 2711, Charleston, WV 25330. Voters also may register by phone by calling the party headquarters at (304) 768-0493.

Party chairmen also have copies of the voting application available upon request. In Ohio County, applications can be obtained by calling Chairman Marty Wright at (304) 242-2299; in Marshall County, Chairman Brian Long at (304) 845-5071.

”All we’re asking for on the online application is your name and address — no social security number or credit card number,” said Lynn Staton, chairwoman for the State GOP Convention Inc. ”Security shouldn’t be an issue.”

Registering to vote is the first phase for West Virginia Republicans seeking to have a voice in who will be the state’s Republican presidential nominee in 2008, and the voting leads up to the first State GOP Convention Feb. 5.

Beginning Nov. 1, those wanting to be delegates to the state convention may file to be on the ballot, and at that time the prospective candidates may designate which presidential candidate they will support. Nov. 30 also marks the last day to file to run in the election.

The delegate election — also to be conducted online — begins Jan. 1 and concludes Jan. 14.

Counties will have the option in early January to hold county conventions to choose delegates, and those not wanting to vote online may attend this convention to vote in person. Votes submitted at the convention will be added to online vote totals, which won’t be made known until after the county convention.

Winning delegates will attend the State GOP Convention Feb. 5 at the Charleston Civic Center, where state Republicans will choose the state’s Republican presidential nominee.

Ohio County will send 36 delegates to the state convention; Marshall, 28; Hancock, 26; Brooke, 21; Tyler, 22; and Wetzel, 16. Delegate numbers are based on the overall population of Republicans in each county.

Staton said she and other State GOP officials aren’t certain just how many Republicans will participate in the convention delegate election.

”I don’t know,” she said. ”It’s been a topic for discussion here. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

She said the State GOP is holding a convention to relieve some of the burden from county ballots, which are inundated during election years with people seeking to be delegates to national party conventions.

”They had been requesting that parties do something to solve the problem,” Staton noted.

Long said the convention should be ”be a unique, one-time experience that all the major candidates are slated to attend.”

”It’s the first time in forever that West Virginia will have a voice in saying who will be the next president,” he added. ”It brings attention to the state. Hopefully, it will be a positive for everybody.”