An editorial from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register
WHEELING, W.Va. — A serious infringement of West Virginia election law was committed this week by the chief enforcer of such rules, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.
That raises the question of whether Tennant is qualified to continue in her current position. It certainly gives voters one more reason to reject her as a candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Rep. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va., has served our state well as a member of the House of Representatives for nearly 14 years. Mountain State residents’ interests will be served best by electing her to the Senate.
For months, public opinion polls have indicated Capito is far ahead of Tennant in the race for the Senate seat. That has prompted Tennant and some of her supporters to engage in mud-slinging against Capito.
Perhaps that is why Tennant broke the law on Wednesday – out of desperation to win just a few votes in the Nov. 4 election.
Early voting began Wednesday at courthouses throughout the state. Because voting is going on inside courthouses during the period leading up to Nov. 4, state law states that, “No person may do any electioneering nor may any person display or distribute in any manner, or authorize the display or distribution of, any literature, posters or material of any kind which tends to influence the voting for or against any candidate or public question on the property of the county courthouse, any annex facilities, or any other designated early voting locations …” Guidelines issued by Tennant’s office also stress those points.
Yet on Wednesday, Tennant led a group of chanting supporters down a street to the Kanawha County Courthouse. She stood within a few feet of the voter registration office door and made a campaign speech to the group.
Beyond any doubt, Tennant broke the law – not just any law, but an election statute she is sworn to uphold.
Such a blatant breach of trust in order to promote her own interests should be considered unacceptable by West Virginians. It reinforces the point that Capito should be our choice for the Senate.