Strange WV process leaves some votes moot

An editorial from The Journal 

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Are you a Trump supporter? Excited about the possibility that he could visit our area?

Don’t hold your breath.

We wonder what advantage the Donald would get by visiting the Eastern Panhandle as part of his presidential campaign. While such a visit might help demonstrate the Republican frontrunner’s support in this area, that support is relatively meaningless thanks to the state’s complicated system of distributing delegates.

According to a report by the Associated Press, Trump can win up to 31 of the state’s 34 delegates in primary. His top contender Ted Cruz can win up to 30, while darkhorse John Kasich can take only 14.

Only three of those delegates will be bound to the candidate who wins the state’s vote. The other 31 will be selected through the state’s Republican ballot, which lists more than 200 candidates for the roles. Most list which candidate they support – and in a strange twist, not one of the 37 Trump-committed names (31 at-large and six 2nd District-specific) on our local ballot is from the Eastern Panhandle.

What does this mean? This means Trump, who will likely win the state with or without committed Eastern Panhandle support, will see his voters pick his delegates from other parts of the state to represent him in Cleveland.

Among local candidates as delegates to the Republican convention, 13 are committed to Ted Cruz. This number includes some “big-name” supporters from the area, such as Rep. Alex Mooney and Delegate John Overington, who may catch voters’ eyes. What we may end up seeing is a bizarre combination of results, with Trump winning the state – and perhaps even our area – but Cruz winning delegates from the Eastern Panhandle.

No matter how this vote turns out, the complicated process of choosing convention delegates from West Virginia should be re-examined. An unwieldy ballot resulting in a split delegation, including from within regions of the state, is not the way to represent the true will of the people.

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