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Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes to study federal elections


The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — The Wood County Clerk has been appointed to a national commission studying federal elections.

County Clerk Mark Rhodes said he was notified Thursday of the appointment by President Donald Trump to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes poses with the voters registration rolls at the Wood County Courthouse upon being appointed to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity by President Donald Trump.
(Photo by Jeff Baughan)

Rhodes, one of only two county clerks expected on the 15-member commission, said he was appreciative and excited.

“And nervous,” said Rhodes, who was first elected to serve the unexpired term in the 2014 election by five votes.

Chairman of the commission is Vice President Mike Pence. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was named vice chairman.

The commission was formed amid claims of large-scale numbers of non-citizens or other ineligible people voting in the 2016 general elections.

The commission, by the executive order, is required to hold public hearings and members will serve without pay, except for travel expenses.

Rhodes was recommended by West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, who was elected to a first term in 2016.

“I think it’s spectacular,” Warner said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity. I’m glad West Virginia is going to have a voice on this commission.”

Rhodes’ commitment to clean elections, up-to-date voters registration rolls and work ethic were among reasons, Warner said.

“He jumped right in on the effort to clean up the voters rolls,” Warner said. “I knew he was serious about this.”

Trump by executive order established the commission on May 11.

The commission will report to the president on: laws, rules, policies, activities, strategies and practices that enhance confidence in the integrity of the voting processes used in federal elections; laws, rules, policies, activities, strategies, and practices that undermine confidence in the integrity of the voting processes used in federal elections; and those vulnerabilities in voting systems and practices used for federal elections that could lead to improper voter registrations and improper voting, including fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting.

Rhodes said he was informed last week he was under consideration, but had to undergo a background check. Other members include secretaries of state, technology experts and other experts, he said.

The president on Wednesday also said he would appoint Luis Borunda, a deputy secretary of state in Maryland, and David K. Dunn, an attorney from Arkansas, to the commission.

The commission may begin meeting within a month and will meet about a half dozen times in Washington, D.C., Rhodes said. The president wants a report in about a year, Rhodes said.

The commission expires 30 days after a report is made to the president.

Other members of the commission announced in May were Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, and Christy McCormick, a commissioner with the Election Assistance Commission.

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