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Editorial: Warner – Secretary of State doing good work

From The Parkersburg News and Sentinel:

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner has been in office for approximately a month and a half, and already, he has gotten to work on some of his big goals. As he travels the state rebuilding bridges between the 55 county clerks and the Secretary of State’s office, Warner appears to be encouraged by the enthusiasm he sees for helping him reach one of those goals — cleaning up the voter rolls.

In just 45 days since Warner took office, county clerks were able to clear out 36,635 outdated voter registrations from their files. In Wood County alone, 2,100 names have been taken off the voter rolls, according to County Clerk Mark Rhodes. That is a fantastic accomplishment, both for the county clerks working with renewed energy, and for Warner, who finds himself working as much to heal old wounds and restore confidence in the office as he is working toward objectives such as removing outdated voter registrations or “moving at the speed of business” in his office’s Business and Licensing division.

It is amazing the work that can be inspired when people believe they are not dealing with the decades-old business-as-usual of state government.

Now, Warner and his field representatives must convince the state’s county clerks — some of whom will be gathered Monday, the rest of whom he will meet this summer — to follow through with the process that put such a poor taste in their mouths when Warner’s predecessor botched the mailing of 300,000 postcards based on information from the Electronic Registration Information Center last October.

Though clerks wanted to “throw the baby out with the bath water,” at the time, according to Warner, he must now show them the positives of working with the center, when done properly. After all, his predecessor spent $30,000 on the effort when free alternatives were available. Warner’s office can ill afford to toss out a $30,000 process with nothing to show for it.

Judging by his successes so far, and the improved morale among his staff and the county clerks with whom he has already had a chance to work, Warner should have no problem convincing folks he can still get the most out of ERIC. By early appearances, he may soon have West Virginians convinced they are going to be able to get the most out of the Secretary of State’s office, too.

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