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Warner Seeks To Be ‘Good Referee’ Of Elections

Photo by Joselyn King West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner prepares to address constituents at a town hall/Veterans Day commemoration Thursday at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Wheeling.

WHEELING — West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner said elections officials must make good calls on the field, and he seeks to be a “good referee.”

Warner said he has witnessed it personally when voters have had their cars stopped in the parking lot at a polling location by people trying to influence their vote, and that that is illegal.

“I’ve seen people stopping cars, beating on the window and handing you a slate telling you to vote for. Then when you come out, they ask you who you’ve voted for. I want that to stop,” he said.

“If people start to the polling booth, they should not be stopped or infringed upon. If somebody wants to stand outside a 100-foot area and hold a sign that’s one thing, but I don’t want somebody being intimidated. And that’s what we’re trying to stop.”

Warner was in Wheeling Thursday night for a town hall and Veterans Day commemoration event at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in South Wheeling. After the ceremony, he spoke with those present about his recently launched “See Something, Text Something” app that permits the public to immediately report incidents through their smartphone when they see election irregularities. Warner called the system a very user-friendly app, and he hopes it will assist him and those working elections in West Virginia to be “good referees” enforcing the rules correctly.

“You fill it out right there as you are looking at the infractions,” he explained. “You’ve got witnesses, and you can take a picture and send it.

“It comes in immediately, whereas before you had to go back home and download a form. You can even take a video and submit it — as long as you’re not inside the polling location.”

Photos and video are prohibited inside the polling location.

“When our state law says you have to show a photo ID, I want our poll workers asking for an ID,” Warner said. “When state law says ballots have to be posted by Election Day — if a ballot comes in after that it shouldn’t count.”

Warner said he wants the election officials “knowing about, being trained on, and adhering to election rules.”

“That’s what I’m talking about when officials need to be making the right calls consistent with state laws,” he said. “And I want people voting in-person, on Election Day at an election booth — under the watchful, trained eye of two poll workers from each party. That is the gold standard.”

There are some exceptions under state law that provide for the casting of an absentee ballot by mail, and casting early ballots at an early voting polling location also is acceptable under state law, Warner said.

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