Less than one month after being scolded by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals for ignoring election laws, Natalie Tennant – West Virginia’s Secretary of State and Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate against Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito – is violating the law again.
This time she did it on the very steps of a voting precinct.
On Wednesday, the first day of early voting in West Virginia, Tennant with a dozen or more supporters marched up Court Street to the Kanawha County Clerk’s Voter Registration Office to cast her vote. With cheering, clapping, and the news media in tow, Tennant gave a speech on the Voter Registration Office’s doorstep. Here is video, catching the Chief Elections Official red-handed.
Both of the state’s largest newspaper, the Charleston Gazette and the Charleston Daily Mail, questioned the legality of hosting a political rally in front of a voting precinct. From the Gazette:
“This year’s guide to absentee and early voting, issued by Tennant’s office, says, “Electioneering is prohibited on the property of the county courthouse, judicial annex, or any community voting location during the entire period of early voting,” the guide says. ‘No person may solicit voters, display campaign signs or distribute literature or material of any kind.’”
And from the Daily Mail:
But this line from Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick really gets the point across:
“’I would assume she knows the law,’ McCormick said. ‘She should know better.’”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Tennant has violated the laws she is supposed to enforce. Just recently she tried to keep the state Republican Party from replacing a candidate for the House of Delegates on the ballot who dropped out. The state Supreme Court said she “blatantly ignored both a black-letter election law, and a 22-year-old case interpreting that law” and ordered her to put the replacement Republican candidate on the ballot, costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to reprint ballots at the last minute. She’s not even making sure that third parties file their independent expenditures or electioneering communications reports timely, such as the AFL-CIO-ran “Honest West Virginians” PAC.
How can voters trust her to write laws if she can’t follow the laws voters have entrusted her to enforce?