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Voter education essential to increase participation in W.Va. Supreme Court elections

Voters Can Learn about Judicial Candidates at www.wvcourtelections.org 


Release from West Virginia Citizens for Clean Elections:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia’s 2020 primary election, now scheduled for June 9, includes the election of three justices to the West Virginia Supreme Court. Despite the importance of electing judges to the state’s highest court, in recent elections more than 15 percent of voters who cast votes for other offices chose to not vote in the Supreme Court races.

“Tens of thousands of West Virginia voters skipped the Supreme Court elections on the 2016 and 2018 ballots. It’s important that voters know how important these races are and can learn about the candidates who are running. We hope that our new voter education website informs state voters and encourages all of them to participate in our judicial elections,” said Julie Archer, coordinator of West Virginia Citizens for Clean Elections.

“Most West Virginians won’t have direct experience with the Supreme Court, but the decisions that our highest court makes affect our citizens every day. The court has the final say on the constitutionality and interpretation of our state’s laws. Its decisions affect us as workers, consumers, parents and citizens,” said Anthony Majestro, chairperson of the Consumer Protection Alliance of West Virginia.

“Our Supreme Court races are among the most important on the ballot. We want to help voters understand how our Supreme Court works and how its decisions affect them so that more voters will participate in these critical elections.

Voters can learn more about the 2020 West Virginia Supreme Court elections and the judicial candidates at www.wvcourtelections.org. The website is a joint project of West Virginia Citizens for Clean Elections and the Consumer Protection Alliance of West Virginia. A total of 10 candidates are running in the three divisions on the ballot. All candidates were invited to complete a questionnaire, and their unedited answers are provided on the website.

In 2018 general election, 597,149 total West Virginia voters cast ballots. The 2018 West Virginia Supreme Court special election was held in conjunction with that general election. In Division 1, only 503,940 people voted, an undervote of 93,209 and 15.61 percent of total ballots. In Division 2, 505,716 people voted, an undervote of 91,433 and 15.31 percent of total ballots. The 2016 West Virginia Supreme Court race was held as part of the 2016 West Virginia Primary Election. While 495,407 voters casts ballots, only 409,542 voted in the Supreme Court race. This was an undervote of 85,865, 17.33 percent of total ballots.

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The West Virginia Court Elections website is a joint project of West Virginia Citizens for Clean Elections and the West Virginia Consumer Protection Alliance. The website does not expressly advocate for the election or defeat of any candidate.

WV Citizens for Clean Elections is a coalition of organizations working to increase transparency and accountability in West Virginia elections, and advance reforms to strengthen democracy and ensure fairness and impartially in our courts.

The Consumer Protection Alliance is a nonpartisan public education and grassroots advocacy organization committed to protecting consumers and their access to our civil justice system.—

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