Restoring Faith In Election System

What happened during and after the Nov. 6 election in Marshall County should worry voters throughout West Virginia and perhaps in other states. Glaring, unacceptable failings in the election system were exposed.

As we have reported, the process resulted in an incumbent county commissioner, Jason “Jake” Padlow, being told Nov. 6 he had won re-election – but learning later he actually had been defeated by challenger Robert Miller Jr.

That happened because 2,912 early and absentee ballots were not included in vote totals released the night of the election.

But recounts revealed even more problems. Last week, election officials found another 114 ballots that had not been counted. County Clerk Jan Pest explained the error involved an electronic voting machine.

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who oversees elections throughout West Virginia, should be extremely concerned. Problems such as those in Marshall County cast doubt on the reliability of the entire elections process.

Mountain State residents deserve to have confidence in vote totals reported on election nights. As matters stand, they may not have that faith unless a thorough investigation identifies and corrects flaws such as those made apparent in Marshall County.