CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Primary voting season is here, and there are limited places to cast your ballot. A voting precinct was supposed to come to Charleston’s West Side, but it was pulled last minute.
Voting was supposed to be at the Girl Scouts of the Black Diamond Council. Long lines are the reason the precinct was suggested.
“We had it vetted by a republican prosecutor who agreed, and we started talking about this back in October 2021. It’s been on every agenda,” Ben Salango, Kanawha County Commissioner said.
Although it was approved, it got cut Thursday night in an emergency elections commission meeting. They took no action and deferred it to the Secretary of State.
“The Secretary of State claims we missed a deadline. A 90-day deadline. Of course, we had it vetted by our republican prosecutor. We had it vetted by a Republican attorney general. We had it vetted by four other lawyers all who agreed with us that we complied with the deadlines,” Salango said.
A leader on the West Side, pastor Watts, says he’s not surprised.
“I’m not sure that everyone that’s elected in positions or political power. I’m not sure all politicians believe that everyone needs to have equal rights and access to the ballot,” Rev. Matthew Watts at Grace Bible Church said
However, Watts says this isn’t going to stop him from doing what he needs to do to get everyone he can to vote.
“We have time. Let’s plan it. If you need a ride reach out to local ministers, reach out to community organizations and let’s make a statement in the primary election that we will be a significant part of the voting constituent see,” Rev. Watts said.
Commissioner Salango says they could fight back, but more harm would be done than good at this time.
“If we take the secretary to court our lawyers tell us we would be successful but if there are votes cast on the west side during primary during the early voting season then those votes would all be in jeopardy,” Salango said.
They do plan to have voting here in the general election in November. Early voting starts on Wednesday, April 27 – May 7.