Tennant says voter ID laws in state are strong
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Secretary of State Natalie Tennant told Senate Finance Committee members Monday that the current voter identification laws in West Virginia are strong.
"We have very strong voter ID laws in West Virginia," she told the committee during budget hearings Monday. "We can see we haven't had voter fraud or voter impersonation problems in West Virginia."
Tennant said there have been reports of counties having large numbers of inactive voters on the rolls - occasionally, with counties having more registered voters than adult residents.
She said part of that is because federal election law requires that registered voters must be inactive for two federal general election cycles before they can be removed from the rolls.
"Yes, there have been counties that haven't followed the process correctly, and we continue to work with those counties," Tennant said. "It takes time -- four to eight years - to get people off the rolls."
In 2012, the secretary of state's office assisted clerks in Boone in Lincoln counties in purging voter rolls.
Tennant, meanwhile, said her office will be able to absorb a 7.5 percent budget cut mandate without serious difficulties, noting that the office has already been a "lean and mean" operation.
"We're the smallest constitutional office, with the smallest number of employees," she said.
Despite that, she said the office often is open on state holidays, and stays open late to accommodate businesses filing reports, and for candidates filing for public office or submitting campaign financial disclosures.
She noted that the office was open late on the evening of June 29 to allow businesses to meet the deadline for filing annual reports - and that many employees were caught inside the Capitol when the derecho windstorm hit at about 7 p.m.
Reach Phil Kabler at email@example.com or 304-348-1220.