CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia Democratic Party leaders were fuming Monday over an email that urged people to call state Republican headquarters if they witnessed voting irregularities during today's election.
The GOP email -- titled "Legal Update" and distributed statewide -- also called out Democrats for an alleged "long and sordid track record of illegal activity on Election Day."
State Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio said the email unfairly tarnished all West Virginia Democrats, who make up nearly 60 percent of registered voters in the state.
"This is craziness," Puccio said. "You don't attack the citizens. But that is exactly what they're doing."
State GOP Chairman Conrad Lucas said he didn't understand why Puccio and others would raise a fuss about the email. The Republican Party has repeatedly promoted election fraud hotlines in past statewide elections.
"They're being hypersensitive about this," Lucas said. "We do this every election cycle. This isn't a new thing."
Chad Holland, executive director of the West Virginia GOP, added that the email is factual and didn't paint all Democrats as corrupt.
"If the Democrats were any good at rooting out corruption from their side, then we wouldn't be in this situation," Holland said. "Nobody is saying every person who's a Democrat does this, but there are a lot of Democrats that benefit from this activity. They turn a blind eye."
Jake Glance, a spokesman for Secretary of State Natalie Tennant's office, said voters should call the Secretary of State to report election fraud -- not the state GOP headquarters.
"They can't investigate election law violations, but we can," Glance said. "If people see something they think might be a violation of election law, they need to call the Secretary of State's office because we have the authority to investigate, and our record clearly shows we do not tolerate election law violations."
Tennant, a Democrat who's running for re-election, has said her office's investigations of election fraud have led to a spate of criminal convictions in recent years.
In 2010, for instance, Tennant's office and federal prosecutors investigated absentee ballot abuses in Lincoln County. The investigation snared Lincoln County's sheriff, assessor and county commissioner.
"We have an outstanding Secretary of State that does a great job and has a great staff, and we would recommend if you have a problem, contact her office or other law enforcement agency," Puccio said.
Lucas has a much different opinion about Tennant's track record for cleaning up election fraud.